The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has reformed the process of Intellectual Property (IP) registration in the country, making it faster and more transparent.
This is one of the 13 key reforms embarked on by the Ministry in the last four years.
With the IP reforms, the backlog of applications for registration and issuance of certificates dating back to 2012 have been cleared and digitization of the records of the Registries has addressed the problems of missing files and inaccessible records.
Also, for the first time in 51 years, since the Trademarks Act came into force, the Acting Registrar of Trademarks issued the Annual Report on the implementation of the Trademarks Act and the compendium of all opposition rulings in the Registry of Trademarks has been published.
According to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan, which promises improved manufacturing capacity and alternative sources of revenue, rightly identified a knowledge-based economy as an area to explore.
He said the missing link was an enabling environment that required action in three areas: “The development of a National Intellectual Property Policy for Nigeria was critical; Modernisation of the legal framework to capture existing treaty obligations of Nigeria was mandatory; and a needed framework to extend to cover more recent developments like apps, games, programming and other online assets. Most importantly, the administrative regime for IP in Nigeria was due for a dramatic update”.
The reforms involved the separation of the Registries into Patents & Designs Registry; and Trademarks Registry, each with a Registrar in accordance with the Acts establishing them.
Additional achievements made include the regular engagement with stakeholders and a speedy feedback mechanism on status of applications and issues.
The Registries plan continuous process improvement in service delivery by shortening registration waiting period to six months, quarterly publication of journals with online version, weekly sitting of opposition tribunal and a dedicated courier company engaged for dispatch of opposition processes weekly.