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The American Business Council in partnership with the US Embassy recently hosted a 2-day Intellectual Property symposium on Copyright Piracy and Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals on the 16th and 17th of September.
The event brought government agencies, Non-Government Organizations, and private sector stakeholders in the intellectual property rights framework together to address the issues with the Intellectual Property laws and its cost to the economy and society. Businesses and organizations from various sectors of the Nigerian economy such as the pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, Information and Communication technology (ICT) and entertainment sector were well represented.

A panel session on criminal copyright infringement: Stemming the current trends in digital piracy, moderated by Obi Ezeilo, Director Prosecution Department, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), with discussants representative from West African Publishers, Chinwe Ohanele, Business Consultant at BIAYA Consulting, Efe Omoregbe, CEO of Now Muzik, Mahmud Ali Balogun, Film Director, Chairman AVRS, Gozie Onumonu, Head of Regulatory, Multi choice Limited, and Davidson Oturu, Partner Aelex, Managing Director, at the event.

Panelists included Prof. Christiana Mojisola Adeyeye DG of NAFDAC, Babatunde Irukera DG of FCCPC, John Asien DG of NCC, Margaret Olele CEO of the American Business Council, David Lossignol of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and Charles Igwe, Principal Consultant/CEO The Big Picture LLC, Gabriel Ogunyemi of Janssen pharmaceuticals, Isioma Idigbe of Punuka Solicitors, Chinwe Ohanele of Biaya Consult, to name a few.

L:R: DG of NCC moderating a panel discussion “Cooperative approaches to IPR protection and success stories in tackling piracy” with discussants Toju Ejueyitchie, Managing Director of Premier Records Limited, Professor Adebambo Adewopo, IP Chair NIALS, Alhaji Adebayo Thomas, Executive Director NFVCB, and Mohammed Babandede, Head IP Unit, Nigerian Customs Service at the event.

They shared insights on the issues and the way forward. Key addresses were made by Tanya Hill International Computer Hacking & Intellectual Property (ICHIP) Attorney Adviser, Sub-Saharan Africa; United States Department of Justice/OPDAT, Hon. Femi Fakeye Chairman, House Committee on Commerce and Professor Adebambo Adewopo of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

The American Business Council is the affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce and the voice of US businesses in Nigeria. The Council works with critical stakeholders – US Embassy and other critical stakeholders to improve the business environment. “Intellectual Property rights creates an incentive for innovation and investment in research and development. Both are critical to the future of any business, and the economic growth of a country. IP protection is of key interest to US companies as issues of innovation and respect for knowledge assets constitute our intrinsic culture, stated by the President of American Business Council, Dipo Faulkner.

A panel session of Regulatory agencies at the event discussing the scope of the IP challenges as well as sharing Government plans towards the development of an IP policy. The panel discussants include Babatunde Irukere, Director General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Prof. Christiana Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General, NAFDAC, John Asien, Director General, Nigerian Copyright Commission, a representative from Nigeria Customs Service, Osiya Aboloma, Director General, Standard Organization of Nigeria, (SON) and moderated by Prof. Bankole Sodipo, Senior Partner Sodipo & Co. at the Intellectual Property Symposium held in Lagos.

The exhibitions at the symposium provided a platform to stress the importance of strengthened intellectual property laws and showcasing products and services of interest to public and private stakeholders. It was an opportunity to meet an array of prospective Nigerian buyers and partners. A movie screening of a Nigerian-produced documentary film, ‘Fishbone’, which captured the issues on Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals was on display.

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