Intellectual property has long been recognized as an important component of a healthy economy, dating back to 500 BCE in the Greek city-state of Sybaris, where persons were awarded a one-year patent for the production of new expensive items.
Intellectual property has long been argued to be necessary to prevent others from exploiting others’ work or reputation, as well as to give redress in the case that this occurs. Intellectual property law grants exclusive rights to owners of numerous intangible assets, such as literary and creative works, discoveries and inventions, words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Since the early twentieth century, three principal categories of intellectual property have been institutionally classified: copyright, patents, and trademarks.
Because both preserving our history and being able to trace our legal development are vital goals, this article analyses the evolution of Nigeria’s intellectual property laws over time. Nigerian intellectual property law has evolved over time, beginning with pre-colonial or indigenous history and continuing through the classical period, which includes colonial legislation, and into the post-independence period. In pre-colonial African civilization, there is little evidence of established intellectual property standards. Various cultures and traditional activities, such as folk music, sculptures and paintings, designs, markings, and woven fabrics and textiles, have been claimed to qualify for modern IP protection, recognized and protected under traditional practices and beliefs. The colonial and post-colonial stages of development will be the focus of this study.
Nigerian intellectual property laws have a long and colorful history, as discussed in the main article, which looks at how colonialism influenced much of the country’s legal precedents and jurisprudence. Nigeria was ranked 35th out of 45 countries in terms of copyright protection strength in the 2017 International IP Index by the US Chambers of Commerce Global and Intellectual Property Centre. Why are Nigerians so prone to copyright infringement, considering the country’s intellectual property laws? Poverty, corruption, illiteracy, a lack of knowledge about intellectual property protection, and cultural factors that influence people’s perceptions of the value of a person’s intellectual property have all been cited as reasons for the lack of intellectual property protection in the developing world. Cory Doctorow added his two cents, suggesting that making things more accessible might be a good way to reduce copyright infringement in developing nations. As a result of the difficulty that artists have experienced securing intellectual property for their creative works, the inefficiency of intellectual property laws has been called into question.
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