Cablegate: Nigeria: Intellectual Property Update
DE RUEHUJA #2084 2701331
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (TAO)
P 271331Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1051
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 7965
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
UNCLAS ABUJA 002084
TREASURY FOR DPETERS
DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR (AGAMA)
USDOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
USDOC FOR 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS
REF: STATE 128336
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ETRD ECON PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY UPDATE
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.
1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph four.
2. (SBU) Summary. Despite assurances given in May 2007 (reftel),
enabling legislation to create the Nigerian Intellectual Property
Commission (NIPCOM) has not yet become law. Nigerian Copyright
Commission (NCC) officials remain optimistic that the legislation
will pass soon. Other Embassy contacts are less sanguine. The NCC
expressed interest in deeper collaboration between U.S. Intellectual
Property Rights (IPR) owners IP enforcement agencies. Embassy
requests Department assistance in contacting industry associations
interested in IPR cooperation with Nigeria. End Summary.
3. (U) NCC Director General Adebambo Adewopo told Econ Counselor
and Econ Specialist on September 20 that the present administration
is serious about establishing NIPCOM and working to ensure that the
NIPCOM legislation is passed. He said that the proposed legislation
was sent as an executive bill to the former legislature that sat
until June 4, 2007. He said that the last legislature amended its
rules, making it possible for ongoing consideration of bills to
continue from where it stopped when a new legislature is sworn in.
Because of the amendment of the rules, the NIPCOM bill will not be
re-submitted to the new legislature, rather, its consideration will
continue from where the last legislature stopped. Adewopo told us
he is optimistic that the bill will be passed in a few months.
Need for Collaboration
4. (U) Adewopo confirmed that though the NCC has made remarkable
progress in enforcing IP more still needs to be done, and he
appreciates the ongoing assistance from various USG agencies. He
however suggested that IP enforcement can be improved on if the U.S
IPR owners collaborate with the NCC to protect their rights.
Microsoft is presently working with the NCC and has achieved some
success in reducing piracy of its software. If the U.S industry
takes a cue from Microsoft, more progress will be made in IP
enforcement. Embassy requests Department assistance in identifying
industry associations that might be interested in working with NCC
on IPR protection. Embassy Econ Section POC on this issue is Econ
Deputy Tony Fernandes.
5. (SBU) Embassy contacts are less optimistic regarding passage of
the NIPCOM legislation. IPR experts contend that the legislation is
flawed and that Adewopo is not the best person to lead the new
agency. We have heard that his ties to the previous administration
propelled him into the lead role and that he has no such strong ties
within President Yar'adua's government. Adewopo's suggestion on NCC
and U.S. industry co-op could be explored by the U.S industry to
protect their IP.