Oil and GasOil and Gas Industry:Innovation/Intellectual Property based or a Commodity Market?

July 25, 2012by Olufola Wusu0

Introduction

The Occupy Nigeria demonstrations of the 1st of January 2012, the oil subsidy probe and the ensuing “entrapment gone awry” gives credence to the fact that the oil and gas industry is risky, political and very expensive. Furthermore, the industry is constantly being scrutinised by governments, numerous regulatory bodies, investors and ordinary citizens.

It’s also important because it energises every other industry in the world.

I guess you are thinking, there is enough money to go around in Oil and Gas Industry, so why bother with “innovation” i.e. Intellectual Property?

For starters, Oil and gas companies are expected to comply with the mantra, “cheaper, better and faster” i.e. more productivity, less cost to consumers, but it must still manage international politics and not mess up our environment.

Safety…

Innovation Management

Paradoxically the oil and gas industry probably has the best tools and capabilities covering operational efficiency and decision making.

 

Exploiting innovation

Innovative Contract Review and Environmental Protection

There is a possibility that contract review and negotiation can help stem the tide of pollution and environmental degradation…

The laws enumerated below make up the legal regime for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Nigeria.

Copy Right Act, Cap. C 28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

Patents and Designs Act, Cap P2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; and

Trade Marks Act, Cap. T13 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

 

Oily Intellectual Property;

Patents

A patent is a document issued, upon application by a government office (or a regional office acting for several countries), which describes an invention and creates a legal situation in which the patented invention can normally only be exploited (manufactured, used, sold, imported) with the authorization of the owner of the patent

Why Oil and Gas companies are yet to fall in love with Patents …

Is Innovation necessary?

How important is our competition?

What does IP have to do with Oil and Gas?

Trade secrets

A “trade secret” is defined as any product, operating formula, pattern, device or other compilation of information which is used in a business, which gets its economic value from being kept secret, and gives the business a competitive advantage.

 

Contractual Protection for Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are more appropriately protected by contract.

Commercialisation of Patents and Trade Secret

Patents are public documents which disclose information about the invention (technology) in exchange for state protection.

Copyrights

A copyright gives the holder of such copyright the exclusive right to control exploitation, production and adaptation of such a work for a certain period of time.

TRADEMARKS

The first barrel in any great oil and gas company is a good name. It should be registered as a trademark.

 

Oily IP Transactions

Formal accounting procedures for IP assets are fast evolving, but they are generally not on the balance sheet of the average companies that own them, and they are sometimes ignored by financial analysts.

            Conclusion

The upstream oil and gas industry has been described as a “knowledge industry” because of new technologies such as three-dimensional acoustical sounding, horizontal drilling, and deep offshore drilling.

Perhaps the National assembly should do well by including provisions on Intellectual Property and Hydraulic Fracturing in the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill, which should help nudge the Industry in the right direction IP wise.

Megathos Law Practice. © 2012

 

Olufola Wusu

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