….As bill scale second reading
By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives on Thursday expressed support for the bill which seeks to strengthen the legal protection of inventions such as patents, utility models and designs in Nigeria.
The bill sponsored by Hon. Oluga Taiwo also seeks to repeal the Patents Design Act of 1971 and re-enact the Patents and Designs Act 2019, to bring about an upgrade in the body of laws governing Patents, Designs and Utility Models in Nigeria.
According to Hon. Oluga, the “1971 Act does not even recognize Utility Models as a type of Patent or Class of Intellectual Property in Nigeria. This is in contravention of the International Legal Instruments on Intellectual Property.”
As stipulated in Clause 2 of the bill, some of the patent inventions excluded from patent protection include: discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods; schemes, rules or methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games; methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body, this provision shall not apply to products for use in any of those methods; inventions, the prevention within the country of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect public order or morality, which includes: the protection of human, animal or plant life or health; or the avoidance of serious prejudice to the environment; if the exclusion is not made because the exploitation is ‘prohibited; Plants and animals and other than micro-organism; biological processes for the protection of plants or animals other than non-biological and micro-biological processes; and plant varieties.
According to her, the Patent Bill was designed to enhance the quality of life of all Nigerians. It provides a comprehensive industrial/intellectual property system that protects innovations and creative expressions.
“It is a helpful pre-condition to creating and using new technology and therefore, it would boost economic growth and aid development. A strong system of intellectual property rights is indispensable to technological development and advancement.
“The current legal framework for the administration of Patents in Nigeria is not only out dated, but also inadequate to meet the needs of the modern society. In the current age of international trade, Nigeria cannot afford to be Isolated neither is it insulated from world events.
“Therefore, the prospects of doing business in Nigeria should be at per with what obtains in other countries of the world by strengthening the intellectual property regime in Nigeria, through the instrumentality of this bill.”