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Intellectual property (IP) is a term increasingly used today, but its role in economic development in emerging markets like Nigeria, remains unexplored or broadly misunderstood. Over the last few decades, an increasing number of policy-makers are beginning to recognize the important role of the IP system in encouraging private investment in research and development (R&D), especially in the industrial and scientific fields. Many studies suggest that a healthy IP system may be a key component in encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI) and fostering job creation and economic growth.
While IP is not the sole driver of a successful economy, it is considered one of the significant policy complements that drive economic success. Macroeconomic stability, quality of governance, rule of law, business environment, education and productivity of the labor force, and the quality of infrastructure are also vital contributors to economic growth.. The ultimate aim of any IP regime is to deliver innovative, competitive products and services that consumers want and need. In virtually every sector, the number and variety of IP-dependent products and services is vast. For instance:
• Copyright protection underlies the continuous stream of new music and films, games software, books, magazines, newspapers and other published material, photography, and other related activities including publishing, performing, broadcasting and other media for developing and delivering all of these to consumers.
• Patents underlie many of the knowledge-based products and services that society relies on for health, energy, communication, transportation and many other human and commercial needs e.g. aerospace, automotive, energy, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, chemical, and information and communication technology sectors, and related transportation and distribution sectors.
• Trademarks support a wider array of products and services that consumers want and depend on, from clothing and computers to foods and footwear, educational and entertainment products, services, scientific products and even sporting activities.
• Trade Secrets - Any confidential information that provides a business with a competitive advantage. Examples include research findings, technical know-how, manufacturing methods, consumer profiles, sales methods, and advertising strategies.
This workshop will examine the current and potential contribution of IP protection in growing local economies. It addresses the following key issues: