By Godson Ikiebey-

Games, applications and software programming is now recognised as intellectual property by the federal government.

The federal ministry of industry, trade and investment made this known in a statement released on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

The ministry said a six-year backlog of applications for registration and issuance of certificates dating has been cleared and digitisation of the records of the registries has addressed the problems of missing files and inaccessible records.

The acting registrar of trademarks has also issued the annual report on the implementation of the Trademarks Act and a collection of all opposition rulings in the Registry of Trademarks has been published for the first time in 51 years.

According to Okechukwu Enelamah, the minister of industry, trade and investment, the Nigerian industrial revolution plan, which seeks out alternative sources of revenue, identified a knowledge-based economy as an area to explore. He said:

“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.

Additional achievements made include regular engagement with stakeholders and a speedy feedback mechanism on the status of applications and issues.

The registries plan to shorten the registration waiting period to six months, publish a quarterly publication of journals with an online version, hold weekly sittings of opposition tribunal and engage a dedicated courier company for dispatch of opposition processes weekly.

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