Judicial Institute trains judges on Intellectual Property

Judges and Officials of NCC and WIPO at the opening of a two-day training for Judges on Intellectual Property(IP) at the National Judicial Institute in Abuja

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has said it is training Nigerian judges as part its pilot project to properly equip them in the adjudication of Intellectual Property (IP) cases.

Members of the bench and professors of law drawn from across the country took part in the training at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja.

WIPP in collaboration with Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the (NJI) on Monday held the training titled: “Practical Continuing Education Programme on Intellectual Property (IP) for Judges in Nigeria”.

The module of the two-day training was designed to cover Copyright and Related Rights, Undisclosed Information, Trade Marks, Patents and Industrial Design issues.

The Director-General of NCC, Mr Afam Ezekude, said that IP was developing at such pace that no judiciary anywhere in the world could discharge its mandate without periodic refresher courses.

“The main aim of this workshop is to refresh and educate Nigerian judges on IP matters so that they can be well positioned on the adjudication of such cases.

“It is important that with the fast-growing pace of Intellectual Property and the knowledge economy, we from time to time refresh the knowledge of our Judges.

“So they will be able to arrive at sound decisions whenever they are handling IP cases that can be precedence for other cases in future,” he said.

Ezekude noted that with the emergence of digital technology, the fight against piracy had become more complex and tasking globally.

He noted the growth of the innovation and creative industries in the country, saying cases of copyright abuses were also increasing, and there was urgent need to handle the situation effectively.

“As that the last count, we should have not less than 150 cases of pending IP cases in Federal High Courts across the country.

“The Nigerian Copyright Commission is aware of the challenges that courts face in dealing with copyright abuses in the digital environment.

“Piracy is becoming easier to perpetrate and more difficult to detect, and we are now witnessing new forms of piracy.

“For instance, a pirated and distorted version of the memoir of a former president recently surfaced online barely 48 hours after the launch of the book.

“Such unwholesome practices have grave consequences for the publishing industry and far-reaching implications for the integrity of online materials, particularly at a time when the world is contending with fake news,“ he said.

The Director-General of WIPO, Mr Francis Gurry, commended NCC, NJI and other key stakeholders for their commitment in ensuring that the training programme was executed accordingly.

Gurry, who was represented by Mr Mohamed Bdioui, Senior Counsellor WIPO Academy, explained that part of the programme was to establish a National Electronic Network for judges to exchange information and experiences on IP matters.

“It also include the development of customised modules on IP dedicated to Nigerian Judges ,and access to a specialized global database of court cases on IP,” he said.

He however urged the judges to effectively apply the experiences they would gain from the training in handling IP cases.

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