[Guest Post] Book review: Intellectual Property Law in Nigeria: Emerging Trends, Theories And Practice

This book review of Intellectual Property Law in Nigeria: Emerging Trends, Theories And Practice by Desmond Oriakhogba (University of the Western Cape, South Africa) and Ifeoluwa Olubiyi (Afe Babaloloa University, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria) is kindly provided by Kasim Waziri, Professor of Law at the University of Abuja, Nigeria. Here is what Kasim has to say:

The task of writing on the subject matter of intellectual property (IP) is always an onerous one for a lot of reasons. One of such reasons is the volatility of IP law. IP law is mutably capricious in nature; it changes almost daily in its scope, scale and tenor. IP law follows the trends in industrial, technological and even social developments of the society. It responds to changes in investment frameworks and business and enterprise operations. IP law is also multilayered and, therefore, developments and changes in the global governance cascades to regional and domestic spheres with varying implications.

The beauty of this book is that the authors have taken all the above into consideration and have presented this book with deliberate simplicity and yet deep in scope and analytical preponderance. This book showcases a blend of mastery, wisdom and deep understanding of the vicissitudes of the subject matter. The authors showed spontaneously that IP law is not static and, hence, there is need for constantly updating both the substantive principles and policy thrusts. 

The book which is presented in four (4) parts and a total of 25 chapters touches on many areas of IP law taking into account the developments in both domestic and international IP frameworks.

Part One: In this introductory part, the authors carefully laid out definitions and conceptual clarifications of the subject matter of IP. This part also covered the various objectives of and rationales for IP protection including development and economic theories. Chapter two presents the legal and policy framework for IP protection at the international, regional and domestic levels. Here, the authors give the reader a clear understanding of the legislative and policy developments and the connections across the different regimes.

Part Two: This part is the core of this work as it lays out in chapters 3-9 many of the emerging issues in IP law such as the protection of plant varieties, traditional knowledge, TCEs, GR and GIs, personality rights, among others. Under the chapter on digitalization of IP, the authors ventured into discussing other emerging issues such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and NFTs. Another emerging perspective presented by the authors under this part is the debatable discourse on the gendered nature of IP protection.

Part Three: This part, consisting chapters 10-13, discussed copyright and related matters in a very modern style that raises the traditional principles as well as the new dimensions in this field. The authors expertly traced the historical origin of copyrights and the significant milestones in its development. The authors succeeded in simplifying issues that seems typically complex especially for newcomers in the IP field: copyright authorship, ownership and protection. Enforcement of copyright is aptly discussed highlighting the challenges of copyright administration in Nigeria especially with the emergence of new technologies. The authors noted that the need to amend the Copyright Act was necessitated by the digitalization of copying and sharing of data which inevitably impacts on copyright law. The book analyzed the new Copyright Act 2022 and highlighted the novel provisions therein. For instance, the authors’ discussion of subsistence of copyright in Nigeria is up-to-date both judicially and legislatively. The attitude of the courts and other judicial nuances were appropriately described using a litany of cases and especially in discussing the requirements for subsistence of copyright in Nigeria. The book deeply analyzed the enforcement angle of copyright in Nigeria by discussing the institutional and policy framework for the enforcement of copyright claims. Lastly, this part concluded with a discussion with exceptions to copyright. Here, the authors rightly noted that:

“…the exceptions provided by the Copyright Act have been hailed as being in keeping with the core objectives of the Act. Indeed, the exceptions have now positioned the Nigerian copyright regime as a public interest friendly and development-focused framework that will equally take care of the interest of rights owners and users of creative outputs such as researchers and libraries, etc. The exceptions can also serve as a model for other African countries as they strive to align with the African continental strategies for the promotion of the public interest in copyright and access to knowledge through the Intellectual Property Rights Protocol to the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area […] and the recently adopted African Group’s proposed work program at the WIPO. Interestingly, section 20(3) of the Copyright Act prohibits contractual override of the exceptions.”

Part Four: This part is undoubtedly the longest. It is laid in chapters 14–25. In chapters 14-18, the authors comprehensively examined the Nigerian patent system and underscored the patentability requirements in a very skillful manner. The work also described the registration process of patents in Nigeria, subsistence and exploitation of patents, and infringement of patents. Chapters 19–21 discussed industrial designs protection in a very elaborate manner. The authors clearly articulated the position of Nigerian design law and made it very easy for the readers to understand the area of IP protection. Like they did with copyright and patent, they also provided an extensive discussion of the registration of design and implications of holding a registered design right. Chapters 22–25 cover trade marks and in the same fashion, the authors discussed subsistence and exploitation of trademarks as provided in the Trademark Act. The requirement for registration of mark is discussed in the book as the basis for action for infringement as unregistered marks do not carry same status as registered ones. The authors of the book did not forget to cleverly distinguish registrable marks and non-registrable marks and consequently outlined and discussed a list of non-registrable marks and the justification for those. To assist students and researchers, the book described the step-by-step registration procedure for trademarks.

There is no doubt that the approach employed by the authors in this book is unique. With flair, flavour and style, the authors have simply laid out an outstanding addition in the stock of IP literature in Nigeria. This book will be useful to researchers and practitioners of IP in Nigeria and beyond. As an IP scholar, I am very proud of this work by the authors. I am happy to be associated with this unique and fantastic contribution to IP knowledge and scholarship. Finally, the volatility of IP is in such a manner that if you find yourself as an author, you have to keep on reviewing to remain abreast with the always emerging novelties.

[Guest Post] Book review: Intellectual Property Law in Nigeria: Emerging Trends, Theories And Practice [Guest Post] Book review: Intellectual Property Law in Nigeria: Emerging Trends, Theories And Practice Reviewed by Chijioke Okorie on Friday, September 22, 2023 Rating: 5

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