Region: Nigeria

Federal High Court has jurisdiction over passing off claim

In <i>Omnia Nigeria Limited v Dyktrade Limited</i>, the Supreme Court has gone against its own ruling in <i>Ayman v Akuma</i> and held that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine a claim of passing off arising from the infringement of an unregistered trademark. Although the conclusion of the court was desirable, the decision is unlikely to have settled the controversy surrounding this issue as the rationale may be faulty.

18 October 2007

New registrar general appointed

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. It is hoped that the new appointment will signal a general overhaul of the Nigerian registry.

19 June 2007

New rules may protect service marks in Nigeria

The minister of commerce and industry has approved rules incorporating service marks into the classification contained in the Fourth Schedule of the Trademark Regulations. While it is hoped that the new rules will protect service marks in Nigeria, it may be the case that service mark registrations will not be fully ratified until after the amendment of the Trademarks Act.

13 April 2007

New directive facilitates removal of bad-faith registrations

A Nigerian company that was selling bottled water under a mark owned by a well-known international manufacturer has been removed from the register of authorized sellers of such goods. The removal was made under a directive issued in May 2006 which provides that trade names, trademarks and company names owned by international companies and which were registered in the name of local entities be removed from the relevant registers.

15 February 2007

Corporate Affairs Commission clamps down on infringing registrations

Following restructuring to the Corporate Affairs Commission, mark owners will now find it easier to apply for the deregistration of company names that infringe their trademark rights. The deregistration on November 3 2006 of three companies highlights that the commission may now deregister an inactive company even when a conflicting trademark was registered after the company name.

22 November 2006

New practice for service of documents announced

The Nigerian Trademarks Registry has announced a new practice in relation to the recording of the address for service. In circumstances where a party involved in trademark proceedings has failed to update registry records as to the relevant address for service, and the present address is well known, the registry will now ensure service on the new address, despite not having been specifically updated on record.

25 July 2006

Bumper Trademarks Journal tries to clear application backlog

The only edition to date in 2005 of Nigeria's <i>Trademarks Journal</i> was published on June 29. In an attempt to clear the backlog of unpublished applications, the journal contained over 2,500 marks advertised for opposition. Because the journal is not published regularly, it is almost impossible to predict when accepted applications will be advertised.

04 October 2005

Vodafone successfully opposes bad-faith VODACOM application

The Nigerian Trademark Office has upheld a claim by mobile telecommunications provider Vodafone that a local company had applied for the mark VODACOM in Classes 16 of the Nice Classification in bad faith in view of Vodafone?s established reputation in the mark VODACOM. A separate action to revoke the registration of VODACOM by the same party in Class 9 is pending in the courts.

13 July 2004

NAFDAC prohibits registration of certain imported drugs

A directive issued by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, which stipulates that it will no longer allow the registration of certain imported drugs, has come into force. The directive is likely to have an impact on pharmaceutical mark owners.

17 March 2004

Supreme Court clarifies jurisdiction for passing off issues

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has refused to determine the substantive appeal of <i>Ayman Enterprises Limited v Akuma</i> on the grounds that the Federal High Court had lacked jurisdiction at first instance. The Supreme Court held that Section 3 of the Trademarks Act limits passing off claims to the State High Courts.

19 November 2003

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