Legal implications of the naira and kobo patents.
ON August 23, 2012, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria at a press briefing announced the apex’s banks plan entitled “PROJECT CURE” to restructure Nigeria’s currency by the coining of the N20 (twenty), N10 (ten), and N5 (five) naira notes and the introduction of the five thousand naira note.
Understandably, the announcement was greeted with varied reactions, in an attempt to justify the proposed plan of the apex bank; a director in the said bank was quoted by a national newspaper as saying that
“It was quite shocking to us when we discovered that the patent rights of some of our notes are owned by non-Nigerians.”
The said director was also quoted as having said that the patent rights of the new designs of the naira would be owned fully by Nigerians.
Meanwhile, a former President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, was quoted as having said that: “It is not the standard practice to have the patents of national currency held by foreigners. It is because Nigeria lacks the technology and trained personnel to manage its own printing. It is dangerous because if we have to get it back we will pay heavily”.
However, without dwelling on the legality or illegality of the above action this paper will attempt to examine the Intellectual Property ramifications of the proposed course of action and the ambits of Intellectual Property protection for bank notes.
Olufola Wusu Esq.
Megathos Law Practice