INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW IN NIGERIA

COPYRIGHT, TRADEMARK, PATENT AND TRADE SECRET

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW IN NIGERIA

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

11/13/2020 7 min read

intellectual property law in Nigeria. Copyright, Patent, Trademark, Trade secret.
Protect your intellectual property. Copyright litigation, infringement

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW IN NIGERIA - COPYRIGHT, TRADEMARK, PATENT AND TRADE SECRET

 
COPYRIGHT
Copyright is a form of intellectual property. Intellectual Property refers to any intellectual creation such as literacy works, artistic works, invention, design, symbol, names, images, computer code etc. The intellectual property law protects the creators or works of copyright, trademark law and patent. Intellectual property law is the main law encompassing both copyright and industrial property are trademark, patent and invention. 

What then is now copy right?
The United State copyright office define copyright as a set of exclusive right awarded to a copyright holder or owner for an original and creative work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
The Wikipedia define copyright as a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of creative work usually for a limited time.
Copyright is a law that protects the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work but not the idea itself. That is a work is considered original and protected by copyright if the author created it from independent thinking without any duplication from any other sources. This type of work is known as Original Work Of Authorship (OWA).
Anyone with OWA has the copyright automatically and can also register it under the Copyright Law.
However a copyright does not protect concept, theories, ideas, slogans, titles. For a work to be Copyright, it must be in tangible form, what one can see and touch, any ideas, theories must be written down so as to be protected by copyrights. 

COPYRIGHT LAW IN NIGERIA
Copyright Law refers to a legal concept that concern right to copy as it protect the labour, skill and judgment that someone author artist or some other creators expends in the creation of an original piece of work (Feather and Surges 2003)
Copyright law was governed in Nigeria by the English Copyright Act 1911, which was made applicable to Nigeria by virtue of Order In Council Section 25 of the Act of 1911 of great Britain. Nigeria applied the 1911 Act and replaced it with the Copyright Act of 1970, the 1970 Act and replaced it with the Copyright Act of 1970, the 1970 Act couldn't combat the increasing rate of piracy, hence the Birth of 1988 Act. In 1992 the Copyright Amendment Decree No 98 of 1992 and was also amended in 1999. Now the Legislation that govern Copyright In Nigeria is The Copyright Act, Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria 2010,which species works eligible for Copyright to include works, artistic such as actors play writes, cinematograph works, sound recording and broadcasts.
The duration for which Copyright last is 70 years after the death of the author, in case they are joint authors it will be 70 years after the death of the last author or creators of the copyright owner the exclusive control over the distribution and reproduction of that material and also by the person he license himself to distribute and reproduce the material or work himself.
However lawful reproduction of protected materials requires the Copyright owners permission except for copying which is Authorized as "Fair use".
Fair use is a doctrine under Copyright that create exception from Copyright control
GUOBADIA (1989) states that the fair dealing or use refers to the treatment of an author work with genuine and with reasonable purpose.
The second Schedule of the Copyright Act, LFN 2010, provides that fair dealing for the purpose of research ,private use ,criticism or review or the reporting of current even ,there won't be question of infringement of the Copyright in such a work. 

The fair use or fair dealing has the following characteristics.
1) The copy is a reasonable portion of a given work. Reasonable in the sense that no more than ten percent of the total pages or one chapter of a published work that is not less than 10 pages and it must not be an artistic work.
2) The copy has a temporary use, primarily for study and use and can also be photo copy and put in the library as author or creators of the work as reference.
3) The copy is made for taking manual notes or research about a particular thing.
IMPORTANCE OF COPYRIGHT
1. Copyright encourages creativity in the society. When one work of creation is protected by copyrights, others in the society will strive to create things of their own.
2. Once a Copyright is registered there will be a public record of one’s work.
3. Ownership: only the Copyright holder or a person he authorized has a right to use a Copyrighted work, it also serves as a means of earning, for other people to use is work, they have to pay. 

TRADEMARK
Trademark is also a form of intellectual property. A trademark is a unique symbol or words use to represent a business or its product.
Unlike other forms of intellectual property, in the United States trademark never end, it is for life. However trademark needs to be applying for and receive ownership confirmation with office. Here in Nigeria trademark last for a period of seven years and can be renewed after an expiration from time to time. Every subsequent registration lasts for seven years. 

The basic requirements for registration of trademark are:
1. Logo
2. Name of applicants
3. contract details of the applicants
4. Power of attorney appointing an agent to conduct such registration.

IMPORTANCE OF TRADEMARK
1. It aids location by the customer: Trademark make it easy for customers to find you. Customers viewing a trademark give them knowledge of the person they are looking for.
2. Trademark provides value beyond the business itself, they are valuable assets.
3. It serves as an effective means of communication on Trademark conveys intellectual attribute about a company, company reputation and services. 

PATENTS
The word patent originates from the Latin words "PATERE" which means "To Lay Open" (to make available for public inspection)
A patent is the granting of a property right by a sovereign authority to an inventor. The patent right is designed to encourage invention that are unique and useful to the society.
A patent is a right granted to an investors by the federal government that permits the inventor to exclude others from making, selling or using the invention to exclude, others from making, selling or using the invention for a period of time.
The patent right is designed to encourage invention that are special and useful to the society.
There are three types of patents:
• Utility Patents : this patents covers anyone, who invent something new and useful to the society such as machine, chemicals etc
• Design patent: Include an original, new and ornamental design for a manufactured product. Is granted to protect the unique appearance or designed of an object.
• Plant patent: Granted for the invention and asexual reproduction of a new and distinct plant varieties.
An invention is only qualify for a patent, if it is only "novel" and "non obvious". Novel in the Sense that it must be different from other similar invention. It must not have been publicly sold and use within one year before its production.
A patent expires after 20 years from the date of the filling of the relevant patent application.
Examples of patent is the personal computer filed in 1980 by Steve Job, Garrett Morgan. Patent for Traffic light in 1923, Patent for television was issued in 1930 to Phllo Taylor. 

IMPORTANCE OF PATENTS
1. It helps safeguard invention: It protect the invention from being claim by another person.
2. It stimulates the growth of national industry because local company hold patent make foreign investors to invest in them which can develop a country.
Possessing a patent may help a company to grow by capitalizing on the market potential of its invention. Small company may use patent to attract financial backing. Profit generated by patents exploitation can be invested in further research and development which may stimulus commercials and industrial growth. 

TRADE SECRET
Trade Secrets are Intellectual property rights on confidential information which may be sold or licensed.
For information to qualify as a trade Secret, the information must possess these characteristics.
• Commercially valuable because it is a secret.
• Be known only to a limited group of person
The use of confidentiality agreement for business partner and employers so as to subject to reasonable steps taken by the rightful holder of the information to keep it secret.
Unlike a patent, a trade Secret is not publicly known.
Trade Secret may take different forms such as proprietary proves, instrument ,pattern design ,formula ,recipe method or practice that is not evident to others and may be use as a means to create an enterprise that offers an advantages over competitors or provide value to customers.
A trade Secret is also defined as a formula, process, design and other business formulation that is kept confidential to maintain advantage over other competitors. Example of trade secret is that coca-cola company may lose its market value if the main ingredient of his drink is expose to the public .
A trade Secret must be confidential the moment it loses confidentiality, the protection will no longer exist and this may lead to a setback for the company.
A trade Secret protection confers owners the right to prevent the information lawfully within their control from being disclosed, acquired or used by others without their consent in a manner contrary to honest commercials practice.
Misappropriation of trade Secret may be prevented through an injunction or restraining order. Monetary damages may also be awarded on certain circumstances. 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COPYRIGHT, TRADEMARK AND PATENT.
• Copyright laws apply throughout the creator or joint creator lifetime and 70 years after their death while Trademark in Nigeria last for 7 years and can be renewed subsequently 14 years after while Patent right last for 20 years.
• Copyright and Trademark are registered by their creators while patent are endorse by the federal government.
• Copyright and Trademark are for personal purpose while patent are for public use ,and also to contribute to the society
• Copyright protect the original expression, patent protect invention while trademark are element of branding. 

WRITTEN BY:
CHAMAN LAW FIRM
Email: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com
Tel: 08065553671, 08024200080