Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report 2021 includes countries where IP enforcement is lacking. Reasons include inadequate or ineffective border enforcement against counterfeit and pirated goods. Customs officials also lack authority to take action to seize and destroy such goods at the border or in-transit. Particularly mentioned are copyright issues such as piracy and unlicensed government use of software. The document also noted that right holders operating in other countries report an increasing variety of government measures, policies, and practices that require or pressure technology transfer from foreign companies. While these measures are sometimes styled as means to incentivize domestic “indigenous innovation,” in practice, they disadvantage U.S. companies, requiring them to give up their IP as the price of market entry. These actions serve as market access barriers and deny U.S. companies’ reciprocal opportunities to access foreign markets relative to market access provided to foreign companies operating in the United States. Nigeria is not listed at a country on the report’s “watch list.”
In Nigeria, localization policies (in the form of local content requirements) protect and favor local companies at the expense of foreign firms and investors. The 2019 Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in Information and Communications Technology require local production or utilization of Nigerian materials and labor across a broad range of information communications technology (ICT) goods and services.
In any foreign market, U.S. companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property. The U.S. Department of Commerce has positioned IP Attachés in key markets around the world. You can contact the IP Attaché for Africa: JoEllen Urban - JoEllen.Urban@USPTO.gov.
For additional information, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statements.