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Jessica C Lai
Patent law is considered to be an objective law, dealing with the objective subject matter of the ‘technical arts’. Yet, empirical studies show that patenting rates around the world are gendered. This article analyses the roots of the gender patent gap, and how this correlates to the invention and innovation processes. It shows that the gendered nature of the patent-regulated knowledge governance system forces women into traditionally male spaces and fields in order to partake in the extant patent game. Yet, when they enter those spaces and fields, they often find themselves unwelcome and subject to institutional, structural or organizational biases, which impinge upon their ability to invent, patent and commercialize.
This article re-frames the discourse around women inventors. It argues that we have to stop focusing on the ‘women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)’ narrative, because it is a distraction from the underlying problem that the Western knowledge governance system reflects the hegemonic powers at play. Instead, we need to re-think the knowledge governance system and the ecosystem it creates, in order to ensure egalitarian knowledge production and protection.
Catherine Drummond and Patrick Simon Perillo
Twenty years have passed since the author's delivery in 2000 of the general course of public international law at the Hague Academy of International Law, titled ‘The Unity of the International Legal Order’. That course was designed to combat the all-too-common idea that international law was in the process of ‘fragmentation’. It did so by developing a theory focused on the existence of and tension between two forms of unity in the international legal order: the formal unity (concerning the procedures by which primary norms are created and interpreted, and their non-compliance adjudicated) and the material unity (based on the content of certain norms of general international law, peremptory norms). Twenty years later, the time is ripe to revisit this theory to determine the extent to which it is still valid as a framework for the analysis of international law, particularly as an increasing number of ‘populist’ leaders very much seem to ignore, or voluntarily deny, the validity of some of the key substantial principles on which the international legal order was re-founded within and around the United Nations in 1945. When confronted with the factual reality of the present state of international relations as well as with the evolution of the law, one can conclude that the validity of the unity of the international legal order is unfailingly maintained, and that its role in upholding the international rule of law is more important now than ever.
Despite Nigeria's treaty obligations, Nigerian courts have, in the last quarter of a century, consistently but erroneously held that the Nigerian copyright statute does not protect copyright works of foreign persons. The purport of the decisions is that foreign persons cannot sue to protect their copyright in Nigeria. Given that the decisions of three trial courts and a Court of Appeal decision were never appealed to the Supreme Court, they arguably remain good precedent. The decisions suggest that foreign direct investors who need copyright protection are exposed in Nigeria. Relying on two of these cases, a leading intellectual property law text echoed this erroneous position.
This article demonstrates that the decisions were reached in ignorance of applicable statute. As such, the decisions should not be followed by trial courts irrespective of the rule of binding judicial precedent. The article outlines various mechanisms within the copyright statute that extend the protection of the Nigerian copyright statute to foreign works. This article goes further than previous works. Unlike earlier works, this article suggests the path trial courts should tread, despite the rule of precedent, in distinguishing this line of cases to hold that foreign corporations incorporated in many treaty countries and foreign works emanating from many treaty countries are protected in Nigeria. Unlike earlier works, this article demonstrates that lower courts may refer this issue to higher courts for interpretation and guidance under the case stated procedure. Whilst other works made passing references to the Copyright (Reciprocal Extension) Order 1972 (the 1972 Order), that arguably extends copyright to foreign works under the Copyright Act 1970, none cited judicial authority that held that the 1972 Order made under the repealed Copyright Act 1970 is still valid under the current Copyright Act. None referred to the Interpretation Act that supports this judicial authority. Unlike previous work, this article reveals that if the Microsoft case that is the most significant of these cases is appealed to the Nigerian Supreme Court, the court will extend the time within which the Microsoft Corporation can appeal and reverse Microsoft and the line of cases identified in this article.