Experts in technology, media, telecommunication (TMT) and finance have called on concerned authorities to review Nigeria’s out-dated Intellectual Property (IP) laws, so as to attract investment opportunities in the technology sector and other sectors across the country.
This call is coming at a time when technology has continued to disrupt ways organisations operate, resulting in innovations that would need to be protected by the law for them to thrive and remain sustainable.
Speaking during the 2nd Annual Business Series of Duale, Ovia & Alex-Adedipe (the “Firm”) a fast-growing full-service commercial law firm in Nigeria, Adeleke Alex-Adedipe, a partner at the law firm said the firm would continue to reach out to lead the charge and drive conversations towards to reform of Nigeria’s out-dated Intellectual IP laws, especially as it relates to trade marks.
“Why does it take such a long time to register a trade mark? It is a problem and we write opinion to clients all the time about time line to register IP. In a country that is trying to drive investment and trade, we shouldn’t have such impediments in our laws. These are conversations and take-way from this business series and things that will be sent across of appropriate authorities to help organisations,” Alex-Adedipe said.
Speaking during a panel session, Kenneth Obiajulu, co-founder and managing director of FarmGate Africa, said IP issues are quite sensitive in Nigeria and is not at the level it ought to be.
Obiajulu said waiting for the current regulatory framework to protect you as an investor may not work, adding that it is important for Nigeria to build the regulatory framework it desires.
Also speaking during the panel session, Kenneth Muhangi, partner, KTA Advocate of Uganda, noted that intellectual property should be looked at broadly, as several countries are investing in technology, which is changing things.
For Muhangi, engaging regulators is also key to ensuring the required IP laws are enacted.
Adeniyi Duale, managing partner of DOA, stressed that no investor would put their money in a business with a risks associated with not having strong intellectual property rights or trademark, “therefore the need to have legal framework that can help protect innovations, especially as it concerns technology,” he said.
He raised concerns on the need for government to understand issues relating to the tech sector, so as to take the right approach.
During his key note address, Uzoma Dozie, former CEO, Diamond Bank, said Diamond bank used new technological services to attract wide range of customers.
“We invested in equipment, expertise and education. We turned Diamond bank from paper-based operations to a paperless organisation. We became more mobile and agile. Technological tools as artificial intelligence can be leveraged on to provide exceptional services,” Dozie added.