News & Events

OCT 2020 NEWS Aluko & Oyebode

General Activities at the Regulatory Agencies following the Easing of Lockdown in Nigeria

The Nigerian government has gradually eased the lockdown by issuing fresh guidelines and following the issuance of the guidelines, the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry; the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC); the Nigerian Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC); the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other regulatory agencies have continued to carry out activities. The initial guidelines allowed officers from Grade level 14 to resume work, however, with the easing of the lockdown, officers from Grade Level 12 have been authorised to resume work. As a result of the guidelines, some agencies now allow monitored physical visits while others continue to carry out activities digitally.

For example, NAFDAC has recently instituted a virtual warehouse inspection process and as such, stakeholders are discouraged from physical submission of documents to the agency. Thus, applicants are required to send relevant documents of the facility as the officials will ordinarily inspect them along with their usual documents. Upon receipt of the documents, a mode of teleconferencing/video conference will be agreed on by both parties such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft teams and a date will be scheduled for the virtual inspection.

Virtual Interactive Session with the Registrar of Trademarks and the Registrar of Patents & Designs

On 15 September 2020, the Registrar of Trade Marks and the Registrar of Patents & Designs held a virtual interactive session in a webinar titled “Developments, Projects, Initiatives, Challenges and Reforms at the Registries in the Pandemic Era – an Interactive Session with the Registrar of Patents and the Registrar of Trade Marks”.  The session was convened in collaboration with the premier Intellectual Property Law Association of Nigeria (IPLAN), which brought together stakeholders, proprietors, law firms, and Agents. The highlights of the session are as follows:

  • The Registrar of Trademarks indicated that in line with the Registry’s efforts to clear a backlog of pending accepted trademark applications, trademarks journals are scheduled to be published and released to the public on the 10th and 30th September 2020 respectively. The Journal of 10th September has been published as Vol.1 No. 5 of 10th September 2020.
  • A committee of NAFDAC officials and Trademarks Registry officials have been set up to manage and resolve issues relating to both the Trademarks Registry and the Agency. This is aimed at speedy resolution of issues in a bid to ease doing business in Nigeria. This relates to the issuance of acceptance letters (this is the accepted pending the issuance of a certificate of registration and the rationale is to allow commerce to continue without disruption) by the Trademarks Registry required for NAFDAC product registration.
  • The online platform: an upgrade of the IPO Nigeria online platform is on-going with changes and new features to improve on service delivery and resolve challenges, such as KIV, reason(s) for refusal, withdrawal, cancellation, abandonment etc.
  • The Registrar of Trademarks stated that for a better and smoother process for preliminary/availability searches, plans are underway to digitize the index cards to improve service delivery.
  • On trademarks opposition matters, the Registrar of Trademarks noted that 5 panels have been set up to hear pending opposition matters.
  • Publication of the maiden edition of the Patent Journals by the Patents and Designs Registry. Seven volumes of the Patents journal are to be published soon by the Registry. This is in line with the provisions of the law in section 28(6) of the Patent and Designs Act, 1971 which empowers the Registrar of Patents and Designs to publish Patents journals.
  • The Registrars encouraged stakeholders not to be alarmed as different measures are being put in place to improve service delivery to clients in line with the Federal Government’s move to ease doing business in Nigeria.

Firm News

We congratulate our IP Partner on being recognised by WTR 1000 as the go-to person for Intellectual Property matters. She was described as “the person to call; she lives and breathes intellectual property and has an infectious enthusiasm that propels leading brand owners to success against infringers.”

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