Listen to article

BEGINNING from Tuesday, November 6 through 9, 2007 at the NICON Luxury Hotel, (former Le Meridian), Area 11, Garki, Abuja, the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, will in collaboration with the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), hold a training programme on Investigative Skills for Intellectual Property Crimes.

In a statement signed by Mr. Vincent Oyefeso, Assistant Chief Public Affairs Officer of the commission, on behalf of the director general, Mr. Adebambo Adewopo, stated that over time, a cardinal challenge of building a strong and efficient intellectual property system in Nigeria has been the ability to enforce positive IP (Intellectual Property) values and generate greater compliance to IP laws through efficient rights administration and enforcement. "In spite of the prescription of criminal sanctions for most IP violations, investors in the Nigerian IP related industries have continued to suffer huge losses owing to activities of counterfeiters and pirates. Often, the weak financial position of the right owner may constitute a barrier to enforcement. More critically, the lack of institutional capacity, technical expertise, and product identification information on the part of enforcement institutions have also been known to frustrate effective enforcement," Adewopo said.

He gave reasons for the oncoming training programme which he said is "in order to equip enforcement officials with the requisite skills to sustain the on-going fight against piracy and counterfeiting, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in collaboration with the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) is jointly organizing a training program on investigative skills for Intellectual Property Crimes. The programme will have participants drawn from all government agencies whose mandates touch on the enforcement of intellectual property laws, including National Agency For Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Customs, Standards Organization of Nigeria, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Police, The Federal Ministry of Justice, The Nigerian Cybercrime Working Group and Nigerian Copyright Commission."

The training is expected to combine both formal and practical demonstration sessions. One of the important segments will feature an interactive forum (Panel discussions) between key IP right holders and the participants, who are essentially IP enforcement officials. "The goal is to establish for the participants a future point of contact (POC) for product identification and obtaining other necessary information to aid apprehension and investigation of IP infringements. The main thrust of the training is to teach participants techniques of criminal enforcement and how to identify the supplier of counterfeit goods and build a good investigation. Panelists are therefore selected from relevant IP industries like music, movies, pharmaceuticals, consumer and luxury goods which are prone to piracy and counterfeiting. The panelists would be expected to highlight the counterfeiting problems as it relates to their respective industries, and provide information and tips on how to identify counterfeit and pirated products," the copyright commission boss said in the statement.

Coming on the heels of the recent delisting of Nigeria from the United States Special 301 Lists of countries blacklisted for prevalence and condoning of piracy and counterfeiting, Adewopo said, "the training is not only strategically important to government, but seen as a step towards sustaining the current war against economic crimes which include piracy and counterfeiting."

The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, will declare the training open on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 in Abuja. Other dignitaries expected at the occasion include the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, chairmen of the respective Committees of the National Assembly in charge of matters relating to Intellectual Property, chief executive officers of relevant Government agencies and representatives of multinational groups and stakeholders' associations in the intellectual property sector.