We bring you our first quarterly Intellectual Property (IP) Newsletter, Volume 1, 2024. As we navigate the dynamic landscape of IP, this newsletter serves as a guide to keep you informed of the latest IP related developments and trends in Nigeria.
Activities at the Regulatory Agencies
Trade Marks Registry
- The Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in collaboration with the Trade Marks Registry recently held a session titled “Towards An Effective Operationalization Of The Trademark Law In Nigeria: Development, Challenges and Prospects”. The session discussed the need to revamp the IP laws and create synergy between the various regulatory agencies in Nigeria for better service delivery.
- Furthermore, the Trade Marks Registry recently published online Trade Marks Journals Vol. 1 No. 3 of December 13, 2023, and Vol. 1 No. 4 of December 15, 2023. The statutory two-month period for opposition by interested applicants will expire on February 13, 2024, and February 15, 2024, respectively. There is no extension for the opposition term. The Registry also published a Compendium of Rulings of Trademarks Tribunal, which is a summary of concluded trade marks Opposition cases from applications that were published in previous Trademarks Journals at the Registry.
Also, the Registry announced plans to hold an interactive session on February 15, 2024, with stakeholders on actions that will be implemented by the new Permanence Management System (PMS) of the Federal Civil Service to tackle the ongoing challenges being experienced. The session is expected to deliberate on ideas that will help meet the strategic plan for the transformation of the Trade Marks Registry into a fully automated and efficient Registry.
Patents and Designs Registry
- The Patents and Designs Registry in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently organized a workshop with the theme “Patents, Trade Secrets and the Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT) – Effective Utilization of the IP System by Universities and Research Institutions”.
The session highlighted WIPO’s mission to advance the development of an effective international IP system that encourages innovation and creativity. The framework that governs the operation of the WIPO was discussed and how to efficiently navigate the WIPO online portal.
- Also, the Patents and Designs Registry recently organized a two-day hybrid stakeholder’s symposium on the European Patent Office (EPO) Patent Validation Program on February 1 and 2, 2024.
The symposium provided a platform for stakeholders to engage representatives from the EPO with submissions on the practicality of the Patent Validation Program in Nigeria. Mrs Uche Nwokocha, head of the IP practice in ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode attended the workshop and made vital submissions on the implications of the Patent Validation Program in Nigeria. Regina Onwumere and Richman Thommanuel, Senior Associate and Associate, respectively, also participated in the discussions at the symposium.
Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)
- The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, requested for synergy amongst stakeholders on copyright development, in order to boost Nigeria’s creative economy at a seminar on Copyright Law and Policy organized by the NCC in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice in Abuja.
The Attorney-General who was represented by the Director of Legal Drafting Department stated that the primary objectives of the Copyright Act, 2022 are to protect the right of authors to ensure appropriate recognitions for their intellectual efforts, and to enhance the capacity of the NCC for effective regulations, administration, and enforcement of the provisions of the Act.
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
- On January 26, 2024, the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Mr. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi announced plans to launch a Time Release Study (TRS) aimed at reducing the processes involved in clearing goods at the Nigerian ports. The TRS is a strategic and internationally recognised tool to measure the actual time required for the clearance of goods from the time of arrival until the release of the goods with a view to identifying bottlenecks in the trade flow process and taking steps to improve same.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)
- SON recently launched its highly anticipated e-Demand Note Service Platform, promising a more accessible, efficient, and user-friendly experience. The e-Demand Note Service is significant to SON’s mission in ensuring product quality, safety, and standards compliance within Nigeria. The platform aims to streamline the process of obtaining Demand Notes, making it easier for individuals and businesses to navigate the complexities of regulatory compliance.
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
- The DG of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, reiterated the need for efficient and seamless port clearance procedures to achieve best practices within the industry at the training of Ports Inspection Directorate Priority Clients on Ports Inspection Data Capture and Risk Management System (“PIDCARMS”) platform, held in January 2024.
The DG, who was represented by the Director, Ports Inspection Directorate of NAFDAC stated that the training programme on port clearance procedures using the PIDCARMS platform for stakeholders is important as the Agency aims to provide crucial insights and guidance on the utilization of the optimized PIDCARMS for efficient and seamless port clearance procedures.
- We are pleased to announce that Mr. Gbenga Oyebode MFR, Of Counsel, ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode has been honoured with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by Chambers and Partners. This recognition is a testament to his significant contributions to the Legal profession and his impactful role in shaping the practice of law throughout the African continent. The announcement was made during the virtual ceremony of the Chambers Africa Awards 2024 on January 24, 2024.
- Our Partner, Uche Nwokocha, attended the 2023 International Trademark Association (INTA) Leadership meeting in Houston, Texas, USA. The 4-day event opened only to INTA Leaders discussed several topical issues and developments.
- We are pleased to have hosted the BIGWIG Essay Competition Prize Presentation and the launch of the Young BIGWIG Community event at our Lagos office. As a firm committed to nurturing young legal talent, we take pride in supporting this impactful initiative. Our Fintech Partner, Dr. Ajibola Asolo, alongside the co-sponsors, presented the winners of the essay competition with their prizes at the Event.