By Crusoe Osagie
The World Intellectual Property Organisation, (WIPO), based in Geneva, Switzerland has indicated interest to partner with Nigeria in producing a National Policy on Intellectual Property.
It has also indicated plans to partner with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) with regards to protection of patents and Intellectual Property rights of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Speaking during the visit of the WIPO delegation to SMEDAN’s Head office in Abuja, the Deputy Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, Mrs. Dalila Hamou, disclosed that it was WIPO’s desire to assist Nigeria develop a comprehensive plan on Intellectual Property in the field of branding, promotion, trademark and industrial designs, and also to support Nigeria‘s MSME sector.
She said the essence of the visit was to find out areas WIPO could assist SMEDAN in dealing with Intellectual Property issues for MSME. The delegation pledged to link SMEDAN with the global database on Intellectual property.
Mrs. Hamou encouraged SMEDAN to intimate WIPO on her needs in the area of Intellectual Property, so that they could be tackled appropriately.
The Senior Director, Madrid & Lisbon System, Mr. Antonio Toledo, said the system protects trademarks of Member-countries, and has over two million patent documents available for free. The Madrid & Lisbon System also promotes export of goods, he added.
Other members of the WIPO team were: Senior Programme Officer, Patrick Genin and Project Manager, Hisha-Fayed.
They were accompanied by officials of the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, namely: Chief Administration Officer, (Commercial Law Department), Abubakar Kora; Senior Assistant Registrar, (Commercial Law Department), Eno-Obong Usen, and Principal Assistant Registrar, Sharfin Adamu.
Welcoming the WIPO delegation to SMEDAN, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Muhammad Nadada Umar, expressed regret at the pervasive ignorance of MSME on issues relating to intellectual property. He therefore sought the assistance of WIPO in the areas of awareness creation, training and capacity-building on issues relating to intellectual property.
Responding to this, the Project Manager of WIPO, Mr. Hisha-Fayed, assured SMEDAN that it would be properly taken care of, as the organisation plans to start the process in Universities and also to incorporate stakeholders in so doing.