A Constitutional Lawyer, Mr Spurgeon Ataene, on Monday, called on the Federal Government to put in place measures to check infringement on intellectual works of individuals to foster creativity and boost economic development.
Ataene spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the need to encourage creativity and indigenous works of individuals, largely required for the development of any nation.
According to him, most creative minds often get discouraged due to copyright infringement which also hinders a progressive nation.
He said that if penalties were put in place to deter culprits, it would serve as an encouragement and a reassurance to owners of intellectual works, knowing that their efforts were not wasted.
He said: “Intellectual property is the result of creativity which is legally protected and the four types of intellectual property are: Trademark, Trade secret, Patent and Copyright.
“This transcends almost all professions and vocations and so, those in commerce, academics, law, medicine, etc, therefore, need to guard their creative works jealously from unauthorised use or publication
“The intent of some persons to have easy access to funds or market makes them come with names similar to the ones in existence for the purpose of misleading or hoodwinking the public to think they are one and the same products.
“It is, therefore, important to raise public consciousness in respect of this uncommon invention, ingenuity and creativity.”
Ataene also said that it was instructive to have in place a law governing intellectual works which would also specify punishment for its infringement, saying that such measure would have huge impact.
“Infringement of intellectual property registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission can be redressed by filing a suit at the Federal High Court either for passing off or any other infringement.
“Promoting and respecting works of intellectuals would seem a desideratum in this regard.
“Therefore, those who photocopy books, materials of any kind or reproduce any work at all without the approval of the originator or author of the idea or knowledge is an infringement of right to such registered intellectual property,” he said.
According to him, billions of naira are lost to piracy and it should be tackled seriously.
He, therefore, requested stern penalties for such infringement, saying that there should be an Infringement of Intellectual Property Offences Act, which should criminalise these acts culminating in varying degrees of imprisonment and big fines.
He said that this would serve as a deterrent and encourage more people to invent, create and produce things beneficial to the populace.
Ataene also called on government to give grants to hardworking scientists and other creative persons in the arts and commerce, to create indigenous products that could be exported.
“I urge government to establish anti-piracy offices in all the Local Government Areas in Nigeria,” he said.