New registrar general appointed

Nigeria

Effective June 12 2007 a new registrar general was appointed for the Nigerian Trademarks, Patents & Designs Registry. Hadjia J K Ahmadu-Suka is the first Nigerian female registrar to be appointed in recent times, which is a landmark development in the history of IP practice in Nigeria.

Prior to her appointment, Ahmadu-Suka served with the registry in the capacity of senior assistant registrar. Her immediate predecessor, Eric Egbuonu, remains in the system, although it is unclear what exact role he will play.

There is expected to be a transition period during which the new registrar will familiarize herself with the responsibilities that come with the office. However, considering that she previously worked within the system this is unlikely to take long.

In her efforts to become acquainted with the demands of her new position, it has been confirmed that Ahmadu-Suka held a meeting the day after her appointment with trademark agents in the country to discuss how to improve operations at the registry.

The appointment of a new registrar comes with much anticipation of a much-needed general overhaul at the registry. Challenges which currently face the registry, among many others, include irregular publication of the Trademarks Journal (nothing has been published in close to a year), searches (both trademarks and patents) are still conducted manually, and delays to the registration and opposition processes.

Sade Laniyan, Jackson Etti and Edu, Lagos

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