The fight against Intellectual Property (IP) theft in Nigeria is hampered by outdated laws which do not take into consideration modern achievements in science, technology and general advancement in human creativity and their inherent challenges, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek has learnt.
Nigeria loses over N10 billion annually due to non-protection of intellectual property and is a drain on creative minds.
Akeem Aponmade, a legal counsel and intellectual property, said IP right infringement is clear and present danger that must be addressed to encourage Nigerians to exhibit their talents.
Intellectual property (IP) according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.
But stealing of these creation is easy and widespread, no thanks to lack of laws that can keep pace with the rapid growing knowledge era.
Aponmade said that the various laws need to be reviewed while statutes on plant breeders’ rights as well as proprietary information should be enacted to bring the country’s laws up to date with modern achievements in science, technology and general advancement in human creativity and the serious challenges they have thrown up.
Nigeria CommunicationWeek gathered that stealing of intellectual property can cost people their jobs, damage the reputation of the original maker of the counterfeited product, cause sickness and bodily harm, deprive governments of desperately needed tax revenue, and even result in the spread of organized crime and gangs—which in turn can damage more lives and destroy neighborhoods.
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) reported in the ninth-annual BSA Global Software Piracy Study that well over half of the world’s personal computer users (57 per cent) were pirated software.
The BSA is a professional governing body which has come together to eradicate illegal use of licenses around the globe and conducts studies all over the world.
The commercial value of all these pirated software climbed from $58.8 billion in 2010 to $63.4 billion in 2011, a new record, propelled by PC shipments to emerging economies where piracy rates are highest, including Nigeria.
Latest piracy research for Nigeria indicated that the value of software theft in the country reached a new peak at $225m in 2010, as 83 per cent of software deployed on PCs during the year was said to be pirated, according to Microsoft Nigeria.
Aponmade counseled that IP protection must be put on the front burner of the government.
He also urged the government to complete a comprehensive review of all relevant IP legislation as a matter of urgent importance.
“We cannot continue using laws made several decades ago to fight IP theft in 2012, especially where some of the types of the stealing occurring now were never envisaged by the draftsmen,” he added.