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Cablegate: Nigeria: Ipr Crimes Workshop Well-Received

VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUJA #2436/01 3271108
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231108Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1506
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 8316
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0130
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC

UNCLAS ABUJA 002436

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR (AGAMA)
TREASURY FOR DPETERS
USDOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
USDOC FOR 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS
USDOC FOR USPTO - PAUL SALMON
USDOJ FOR MARIE-FLORE KOUAME

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON KIPR ETRD PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: IPR CRIMES WORKSHOP WELL-RECEIVED


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) Summary. A three-day workshop on investigative skills for
IPR crimes had energetic and high participation from Nigerian
enforcement officials in Abuja. The course was successful in
raising awareness as to the seriousness of IPR crimes, providing
detailed investigative techniques for handling IPR cases from
inception through prosecution, engendering cooperation among the
respective Nigerian government (GON) agencies, and promoting good
relations between IPR interest groups and Nigerian Government
officials. The workshop also revealed recurring problems with
Nigeria's enforcement system, which include IPR laws that hamper the
GON's investigative authority in the trademark area (for goods other
than medicines which are covered by food and drug regulations), lack
of cooperation among GON officials, and lack of expertise among
magistrates and judges. It also revealed that the EFCC is the
agency most equipped to tackle more advanced criminal IP cases.
Embassy hopes that further INL funding will be granted to continue
this type of program with magistrates and judges and to reinforce
the basics of those skills with a more advanced program. This
message details other next steps needed to further bolster IPR
protection. End Summary.

2. (U) The workshop, held in Abuja from November 6 to 8, was funded
by INL and presented in cooperation with the U.S. Departments of
Justice, Homeland Security (ICE) and Embassy. The workshop was
led by USDOJ prosecutor, Marie-Flore Kouam, and two senior DHS ICE
investigators, Tchen Sene, and Thomas Hipelius. Oliver Metzger from
the US Copyright Office also participated as faculty. High-level
support for IPR by the GON was exemplified by the attendance at the
seminar of Hon. Justice Kayode Somolu, Chairman of the Nigerian Law
Reform Commission, representing the Attorney-General and Minister of
Justice; the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission,
Adebambo Adewopo; Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG); the
Director-General of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Dr.
John Akanya; the Director-General of National Agency for Food Drug
Administration & Control (NAFDAC), Professor Dora Akunyili; the
Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),
Mike Nzekwe; the Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation,
Afolabi Adesanya; the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights
Commission; and the Director General, Legal Aid Council, L.
Akinlami. Overall, there were 108 participants from the Nigerian
Copyright Commission (NCC), the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC), Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), the
National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian
Customs (customs' anti-smuggling units and customs' border
officials), the Nigerian Police, as well as investigators and
prosecutors.
.
WORKSHOP GOALS
--------------
.
3. (U) GON officials listed several reasons why IPR enforcement
efforts have been sub par in Nigeria - too many officials with
little to no understanding of IPR, a lack of cooperation and
communication between interested agencies, and the perception that
IPR violations are victimless or less important crimes, especially
in relation to the number of violent crimes occurring in the
country. DOJ, DHS, and Embassy provided an interactive training to
specifically address these issues, encourage cross-agency
cooperation, and improve IPR enforcement efforts.

4. (U) The training included presentations on the basics of IPR,
which emphasized the serious dangers of some IPR crimes, specifics
about the Nigerian law enforcement system, investigative techniques
of IPR crimes, raids, searches and seizures, and trial preparation.
In addition to government officials, several right holders presented
training to explain how they can assist the government in cracking
down on IPR violators. These right holders included Pfizer, Inc.,
Wahl, Inc., IFPI for optical goods, two senior law partners from the
Lagos firm of Jackson, Etti and Edu who represents several U.S. and
local right holders, the Nigerian Publishing Association, and HI TV
for satellite TV. Small interagency-group break-out sessions were
utilized to further enhance communication among the various GON
officials as well as highlight various methods for enforcing IPR.

5. (U) Participants told us that the course was successful in
raising awareness as to the seriousness of IPR crimes, providing
detailed investigative techniques for handling IPR cases from
inception through prosecution, engendering cooperation among the
respective GON agencies, and promoting good relations between IPR
interest groups and GON officials. As one of the Nigerian
participants noted, the workshop "opened his eyes" to the importance
of IPR enforcement and was an "inspiration for fighting IPR
crimes."
.
PROBLEMS REVEALED
-----------------
.
6. (SBU) The workshop exposed recurring problems with Nigeria's IPR
laws, including the provisions relevant to trademarks. The current
trademark statute does not allow for effective criminal prosecution
of trademark violations. These problems can only be addressed and
resolved through legal revisions. Participants mentioned that an
amended law is currently pending and that they are hoping it will
soon be enacted. Hon. Justice Kayode Somolu commented that due to
publicity from this IPR event, his organization, the lead agency for
revisions of laws, would now seriously and more expeditiously push
the enactment of an amended trademark statute for revisions.
(Comment: the Attorney General's office has had the trademark
statute "under review" for a long time with little movement.
Somolu's remarks indicate that the Attorney General's Office
understands the magnitude and importance of the problems with the
current law. End Comment).

7. (SBU) Seriously hindering IPR enforcement is a lack of
communication and cooperation between NCC, NAFDAC, Customs, SON and
to some extent EFCC, which was further exacerbated by
inconsistencies between each agencies' governing laws. The
participants realized through the break-out sessions and scenarios
that if they pool their resources and cooperate, they are afforded
more authority to pursue investigations and prosecutions and can
avoid some of the hamstringing caused by the trademark statute.
They discovered that some of these limitations can be circumvented
by using regulations from other agencies or fraud regulations.
Several participants commented that before the workshop they had not
known that cooperation with their sister agencies could be so
fruitful and asked for contact lists (which were provided) to ensure
that collaboration would continue beyond the classroom.

8. (SBU) Due to low compensation, some agencies suffer from
corruption, higher turn-over and loss of institutional knowledge.
Corrupt officials either misuse the system or transfer to other
non-IP positions to get promoted or leave the government to work for
the private sector. All agencies agreed that magistrates (lower
courts) and judges (higher courts) do not have sufficient knowledge
of IPR to properly and efficiently adjudicate the current cases,
lending to inconsistent judgments and delayed prosecutions.
.
EFCC READY FOR PRIMETIME
------------------------
.
9. (SBU) The training revealed that by far, the EFCC is the most
and perhaps only Nigerian entity at this point that has yielded
advanced results in criminal IP enforcement. Though NAFDAC has
shown actual results in IP criminal enforcement, NAFDAC
investigations are not sophisticated enough to target the lead
suppliers, or heads of criminal networks. The EFCC participants
indicated that they were already using most of the techniques taught
in the course, including tracing the proceeds of crime to the source
of the criminal network, and infiltrating networks with undercover
operations. Recently the EFCC successfully investigated a very
complex IP Internet piracy case. The EFCC privately disclosed that
their results were based on developing techniques to circumvent the
risks of corruption or of tipping off the target. For example when
the EFCC raids a target, the Nigerian team leaders (generally
limited to two to limit finger pointing issues) do not inform the
rest of the team on the details of the operation, on where they are
going, why, and the type of investigation. The raid team will all
get on a bus and be informed of their assignments only when they
arrive at the location. At that point, it will be too late/useless
to tip a target.

10. (SBU) The FBI attach in Lagos also commented that it has been
very successful in partnering with the EFCC on several IP criminal
investigations. Some EFCC participants informed us that the
training was generally basic for them, but that it had helped them
to increase cooperation with other agencies and review some of their
knowledge.
.
NEXT STEPS
----------
.
11. (SBU) First, and foremost, a revision of the trademark statute
is required to close loopholes, empower the NCC and Customs with
sufficient investigative authority, and provide the courts with
guidance on IPR violations. Without such revisions, enforcement
efforts will continue to be shackled and court rulings impeded by
inconsistent laws.

12. (SBU) EFCC should be involved in all criminal IP trainings in
Nigeria. EFCC participants should actually be the first agency to
be considered when selecting "train-the-trainers" participants for
Nigeria or follow-up trainings to the US. Further, the successes
reached by the EFCC in criminal enforcement of IP could actually be
shared with other countries on the continent, including South
Africa. Because of their direct experience, EFCC participants
should also assist US faculty when training on criminal IP.

13. (SBU) Lastly, magistrates and judges are in dire need of basic
training on adjudicating IPR cases. Courts are often overwhelmed by
the technicalities of IPR and must rely on experts to assist them in
their final judgment. Specialized training would alleviate some of
these problems.
.
COMMENT
-------
.
14. (SBU) The success of this IPR investigative training seminar is
a strong indicator that the Nigerian Government is giving greater
attention to IPR and is willing to seek assistance to improve its
enforcement efforts. It is noteworthy that Embassy and DOJ received
full support from the main GON IP law enforcement agencies, as well
as some of the IPR industry groups, in developing the training
program. The NCC has already approached Econ Deputy and Kouame
regarding future cooperation, continued investigative training, and
other suggested programs. Even though the workshop was very
successful, the USG cannot reasonably expect that without U.S.
follow-up and supportive workshops, the Nigerian participants will
be able (from just attending the workshops) to effectively implement
all of the best practices for criminal IP enforcement that they
learned. To this end, USDOJ and Embassy plan to submit a joint
proposal to INL for follow-up trainings to build on the progress
accomplished thus far, including more involvement of the EFCC.

15. This cable has been cleared with USDOJ Marie-Flore Kouam.

PIASCIK

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