Agreement reached on regulation of '.ng' ccTLD
The National Information Technology Development Agency has entered into an agreement with the Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NiRA) to regulate '.ng', Nigeria's country-code top-level domain (ccTLD). Under the agreement, NiRA will have sole authority to administer the '.ng' ccTLD.
The ratification of this agreement is a welcome development for trademark owners, which, until now, found it difficult to protect their rights in the '.ng' ccTLD. It is expected that the number of Nigerian companies conducting business online will increase, especially as the registration of '.ng' domain names is currently free of charge.
NiRA has already taken steps to introduce measures to curtail cybersquatting. For example, it is collaborating with the Directorate of Cybercrime and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the two government organizations that are most effective in combating corruption and financial crime. Moreover, every application will be verified and subjected to a due diligence evaluation, and applicants will have to demonstrate actual physical presence in Nigeria.
It is hoped that this development will help Nigerian trademark owners to increase and strengthen brand awareness at both national and international levels.
In addition, it is expected that the Trademarks Registry will begin to offer online services (eg, trademark searches) in the near future. The registry has already started to computerize its records.
Sade Laniyan, Jackson Etti & Edu, Lagos
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