We bring to you the first edition of our bi-monthly publication for 2015. What appeared from the on-set to be a busy year has since waned as a result of the uncertainty with Nigeria’s general election. It reached a crescendo when the election dates were suddenly postponed. Thus the atmosphere is that of calmness and the legal practice is not spared. Nonetheless, we are hoping for a good year.
Nigerian Trademarks Registry
The Registry has issued its first Journal for the year titled Volume II No. 2 and dated February 2, 2015. The deadline for opposition is 2 months from the above date.
The advantage of the online trademark Journal is that it publishes goods specifications as filed whereas the manual trademark Journal is published using general class headings. While the publication of specific goods is a welcome development, the publication of general class heading by the Registry still remains a worry to applicants. It is hoped that the Registry would apply the same procedure when publishing manual applications.
Another problem encountered with the online platform is claiming priority and colours. We are happy to report that this has been corrected by the Trademarks Registry. Applicants can now claim priority and colour on the online platform.
The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)
Following the successful launch of the NCC online platform for lodging copyright notification in 2014, NCC has witnessed an increase in the number of copyright notifications lodged. Despite the increase, applicants have complained of the difficulties experienced in uploading their works on the online platform.
Although the manual option of obtaining copyright notification is still being maintained, thereby giving an author both options of either lodging copyright notifications manually at the NCC office or on the online platform. NCC has no doubt reiterated its commitment to improving the online system and urges applicants to continue to support its efforts by providing feedback.
NCC has seized two containers of pirated works in a recent operation in Lagos. The NCC has been active in the fight against piracy in Nigeria and currently works with the Nigerian Police Force to carry out raids.
Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON)
In a bid to promote and facilitate trade in Nigeria, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has joined the Nigerian Single Trade Portal with other Agencies in Nigeria. The Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal is a cross-government website that opens a new era for trade facilitation by offering a single portal for trade actors, both Nigerian and international, to access a full range of resources and standardized services from different Nigerian government agencies.
The other Agencies on the Portal are; The Nigerian Custom Service (NCS), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC), National Agricultural and Quarantine Service (NAQS), National Financial and Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) Increases Registration Fees
NAFDAC recently increased its registration fees. NAFDAC is the agency responsible for regulating food, drug, medical devices and chemical products in Nigeria and registration is compulsory for import and sale of all regulated products. The initial increase was so high and in some cases up to 500%.
We are however happy to report that following consultation between NAFDAC and stakeholders, only a 30% increase is now being applied.
The general atmosphere following the postponement of the general election in Nigeria has been that of calm. It is therefore not surprising that brand owners are watching with keen interest, developments in Nigeria. The Presidential and Gubernatorial elections are set to hold on the 28th of March and 11th of April 2015 respectively.
The Firm has announced the admission of Olujoke Aliu and Ayodeji Oyetunde to the Partnership of the Firm. Both Partners have vast experience in Dispute Resolution and Corporate practice respectively.
The Bankole Olumide Aluko (“BOA”) Memorial Football Tournament holds annually to commemorate the late Partner Bankole Olumide Aluko. The tournament kicks off on Sunday March 1, 2015. This year marks the 13th year anniversary of his passing.