The Nigerian Trademarks and Patents Registry has published three Trademarks Journals this year, the latest dating from October 15 2008. This represents an unprecedented achievement for the registry, spurred by the registrar’s resolve to clear the backlog of pending applications.
However, as the register is administered manually, the frequent publication of the journal has created unexpected problems for trademark owners. Indeed, certain applications have been erroneously re-advertised in a subsequent journal. Moreover, applications may also be re-advertised in cases where the original advertisement displayed fundamental errors.
Article 20(1) of the Nigerian Trademarks Act
provides that any person may, within two months from the date of the publication […] of an application, give notice to the registrar of opposition to the registration”. However, the question arises of whether it is necessary to file a second notice of opposition if an application is re-advertised.
If the application is re-advertised in order to correct errors in the original application, it is necessary to file a new notice of opposition in respect of the second advertisement. In this case, the original advertisement will be considered to be void, and only the second advertisement should be taken into account.
However, if the re-advertisement has been made in error, the second advertisement will be considered to be void, and it is not necessary to file another notice of opposition. Opponents are nevertheless advised to file a caveat in respect of the second advertisement in order to draw the registrar’s attention to the fact that an opposition against the original application is pending. By filing a caveat, the opponent will ensure that the application does not proceed on the basis of the second unopposed advertisement.
Sade Laniyan, Jackson Etti & Edu, Lagos