Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
Over the last decade six of the world's ten fastest-growing
economies have been in sub-Saharan Africa. Many predict that over
the next decade Africa is likely to emerge as the fastest growing
economic region, assuming this mantel from Asia.
These trends are also playing themselves out in the intellectual
property sector, with consistently high growth in patent filings.
The growth is being driven predominantly by corporates based in the
United States, Europe and China, which see Africa as an important
emerging market for their products, services and technologies.
Patent activity in Nigeria reflects these trends. Patent filings
show strong growth, but as can be seen from the graph below, this
growth is driven almost exclusively by international corporates
filing patents in Nigeria.
Pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, information technology,
telecommunications, mining and retail are the most active
With the growth of patent filings in Nigeria there has also been
an increased level of activity in patent enforcement. Patent
litigation in Africa, outside of South Africa, was almost
non-existent ten years ago. This has changed significantly in
recent years with four patent disputes proceeding to hearings in
the courts in Nigeria. Once again, the protagonists in these
matters are international corporates looking to build and protect
their commercial positions in Nigeria.
We expect these trends to continue, if not increase, in the next
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These trends are
also playing themselves out in the intellectual property sector,
with consistently high growth in patent filings. The growth is
being driven predominantly by corporates based in the United
States, Europe and China, which see Africa as an important emerging
market for their products, services and technologies.
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