Intellectual Property Newsflash

Passage of the Plant Variety Protection Bill into Law

On 21st May 2021, the President of the Federal Government of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Bill into law. The law seeks to protect new varieties of plants, improve agricultural techniques and modern plant breeding that will enable impactful yields in the sector as well as encourage investment in plant breeding and crop variety. This is a laudable feat in Nigeria’s intellectual property space, given that unlike some other countries, Nigeria had no protection for plant varieties. This was despite its obligation under Article 27.3 (b) of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to protect plant varieties through a patent system, a sui generis system, or a combination of systems. The passage of the law will create immense opportunities that will boost the Agricultural Sector, which is one of the sectors with high potential for growth and massive contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Progress on the Patents and Designs Bill

In furtherance of the protection of inventions and innovation, a bill seeking to repeal the Patent and Designs Act of 1971 and re-enact the Patent and Design Bill of 2019 had on Thursday, 20th May 2021, scaled through its second reading at the House of Representatives. A major provision of the bill is its recognition of utility models, which is currently not recognised under the 1971 Patents and Designs Act as a type of patent or class of Intellectual Property in Nigeria.  This is a welcomed development as it will allow for the registration of inventions that do not fulfill the stringent requirement for patent registration.

These developments in the intellectual property space will create an enabling environment for innovation, which in turn will stimulate economic growth and development.