The country of Nigeria has been seeing a lot of growth in the software industry and companies have been building a dependence on technology to help them keep up with the very fast developments in the market, speed up and automate most of their business processes, and to reduce the cost of their customer service operations.
Due to increased levels of competition, the value of intellectual property in software products has increased significantly. It calls for the laws governing software intellectual property rights to keep up with the pace of how fast technology is advancing to make software developers reap the fruit of their labor and prohibit others from stealing and interfering with their valued intellectual property. Here are 4 ways on how you can protect your software intellectual property in Nigeria.
Computer software is categorized in the Nigerian Copyright Act as a form of literary work which makes it qualified for copyright protection. The copyright would protect the piece of software on the basis of how it was written and how the objects and the source code are implemented.
In Nigeria, software products also qualify to be protected by the patent law, that is if it would pass the common rules of patentability. But not like copyright which protects the software as it’s written i.e as source code, patent protection covers the software as an invention including the way and the procedures it is built upon, and treated as a tangible asset.
Unfortunately, software products cannot be protected by a trademark, what trademark can do though is to protect the exclusivity of the name, brand, slogan, and logo of the software product. A trademark to protect the exclusivity of your software brand name can be obtained by using it within Nigeria or filing a trademark application to the Nigerian Trade Marks Registry.
Software products are allowed to be protected as a trade secret of a company through preserving the software’s source code and other data required as confidential information, which determine its market value and gives the owner of the protection a valuable competitive advantage among its competitors. While trade secret protection is not fully regulated and honored in Nigeria, it is fully recognized and regulated in the common law.
To sum it up, patents, trade secrets, copyright, and trademarks protect different aspects of the software. A patent protects the software as a tangible invention, and also protects the methodologies and processes used in building the software, trade secret protects the confidential information that would give the owner a competitive advantage, copyright protects the source code and trademark protect the brand and logo of the software product.
We are the Hong Kong patent application grant (PAG) authorized patent agent and can help you to apply for the said grant and international patent application. If you would like to apply for the international patent and trademark, please contact us for free consulation.
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