Intellectual Property Rights in Nigeria
Certain principles are vital for effective IPR (intellectual property rights) management in Nigeria. Thus, it is important to hire the services of intellectual property lawyers Nigeria to help manage your IPR. Have an overall approach to protect your intellectual property. Also know that IP may be handled differently in Nigeria compared to the United States.
Moreover, your U.S. patent and trademark registrations are not covered in Nigeria, as the so-called ‘international copyright’ will not protect an inventor’s rights throughout the world. In a certain country, protection from unauthorized use usually depends on that country’s laws. Many countries, however, offer intellectual property protection to foreign works in accordance with international agreements.
In Nigeria, the granting of registration for patents is on a first-to-file basis. Thus, you should consider getting trademark and patent protection before introducing your services or products to the Nigerian market. It’s also important that companies know that IP is a private right. Thus, American firms cannot assert rights for Nigeria’s private individuals.
It is the rights holders’ responsibility to protect, register, and enforce their rights where applicable, retaining their own advisors and counsel. The main enforcement agency for copyright violations is the Nigerian Copyright Commission. International firms can seek counsel from local IP consultants or attorneys who are well-versed in Nigerian law.
It is recommended that — with potential partners — you conduct due diligence. A good partner is vital in the protection of your IP rights. However, consider carefully if you want to let your partner register your IP rights for you. If you allow this, you may risk your partner listing itself as the IP owner. Your partner may not hand over the IP rights in the event your partnership ceases.
Be mindful on the cost structure, and reduce the incentive and margins of partners who are likely to act in bad faith. Sales and projects in Nigeria need a lot of attention. To help you with the protection of your intellectual property in Nigeria, enlist the services of a trademark attorney Nigeria who is knowledgeable of Nigerian laws. The attorney can help you create a solid document complete with non-disclosure/confidentiality procedures and non-compete clauses.
Aside from individuals and their partners, small- and medium-sized businesses should work together with trade organizations and associations to stop counterfeiting and support IP protection efforts. Some of these organizations include: MAN (Manufacturers Association of Nigeria), INTA (International Trademark Association), IIPA (International Intellectual Property Alliance), and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), among many others.
Whether you are based internationally or in Nigeria, and you need to protect your intellectual property rights, hire the right intellectual property attorney to help you out.