Region: Nigeria

New Cybercrime Act: impact for trademark owners

The new Cybercrime Act has recently been signed into law. Section 25 of the act, which concerns cybersquatting, seems to be quite advantageous to IP rights owners. Pursuant to this section, domain names deriving from registered trademarks are protected, and the infringement of rights tied to these domain names is punishable under the law.

25 November 2015

Increase in trademark filings as global brands flock to the country

Nigeria has recently witnessed a remarkable increase in business activities and, in particular, an influx of global brands in the retail landscape. A number of luxury brands have started business in Nigeria, and a search of the last two <I>Trademark Journals</I> reveals that there have been numerous trademark filings in the name of well-known global brands.

12 February 2015

More stringent procedures in trademark applications time limit to respond to official actions

The registrar of trademarks is conducting a campaign to tighten up procedures throughout the registry. At a recent meeting, one of the measures announced concerned the time available for applicants and their agents to respond to official actions issued by the registrar after examination of an application. The registrar made it clear that responses received after the statutory term will be disregarded and the application treated as abandoned.

28 July 2014

History is made: first registration certificates for trademarks filed online are issued

The first set of registration certificates for trademarks filed online has recently been issued. The new online filing system was introduced only two years ago, and the first two <I>Trademarks Journals</I> for trademarks filed online were published on March 25 and September 10 last year.

18 June 2014

Publication of patents and designs: latest Trademark Journal departs from the norm

The latest <i>Trademarks Journal</i> has featured registered patents and designs for - seemingly - the first time. The publication of registered patents and designs is in line with Sections 5(3) and 17(3) of the Patent and Designs Act, and represents a welcome development for rights owners in Nigeria.

31 January 2014

Court of Appeal clarifies issues of non-use, agency and genericness

In <i>Procter & Gamble v G S & D Industry Limited</i>, the Court of Appeal has overruled a decision of the lower court in which the latter had found that Procter & Gamble’s trademark ARIEL had become generic through non-use or abandonment. Among other things, the Court of Appeal stated that "it is self-contradictory to expunge a trademark for non-use and, in the same breath, declare that the same has become generic".

27 March 2013

New online filing system - the good, the bad and the ugly

The pilot test of the new online registration system, which was initially scheduled for April 15 2011, was finally launched on July 16 2012. The new system brought welcomed changes, such as the introduction of a database containing all the files of the registry. However, a Lagos-based law firm has given notice of its intention to commence civil proceedings against the registrar and the IT firm responsible for the online filing system.

07 November 2012

Search mechanism to avoid trademark/design conflicts under discussion

A search mechanism is currently being discussed whereby searches would be conducted at the Trademarks Registry when design applications are filed to ensure that the corresponding sign has not already been filed and/or registered as a trademark. This initiative follows a decision of the Federal Court of Appeal holding that the possession of a certificate of design registration does not confer the right to use a sign registered as a trademark.

09 February 2012

Trademarks Registry introduces online filings - well, almost

An attempt has recently been made to bring the operations of the Nigerian Trademarks Registry into line with international standards by introducing online services. The commencement date for a pilot test of the online application system was initially scheduled for the second quarter of 2011, but the test was later postponed for logistical reasons. At present, the filing system is still manual.

21 November 2011

Design applications to be checked against registered designs and trademarks

According to a new practice directive, all applicants for the registration of a design must now carry out a search of both the Designs Register and the Trademarks Register. While there has been no official statement on the rationale for this new procedure, there are strong indications that the registrar sought to protect the rights of foreign trademark owners: in the past, some well-known foreign marks have been registered as designs by local businesses.

11 February 2011

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