- Message from the Intellectual Property Law Partner
- Registry News
- Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration, Nigeria organizes Intellectual Property Roundtable
- Aluko & Oyebode named Law Firm of the Year
- Uche Nwokocha, (Partner, Aluko & Oyebode)
The year 2010 brought some good stories to tell as well as the bad ones both locally and internationally. The economic down turn of the past two years have not shown much of an improvement. The world politics have also recorded its share of decline. In spite of the vicissitudes that characterized this year, we have been able to record some developments in respect of Intellectual Property administration and protection.
In Nigeria, the Trademark Registry relocated from its former facility to a new state of the art facility. This has come with its share of hiccups particularly in respect of misplacement and outright loss of files. The Registry is currently undergoing computerization of its records. With that in mind, the time frame for searches and filing at the Registry will improve tremendously. We also envisage that the patent portfolio will record some improvement at the Patent Registry. This year also recorded major developments in the training of Registry staff on the current trends and international best practices in the protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
The firm’s Intellectual Property Law Department continues to increase in size and volume. We received a record number of instructions from clients and partner law firms all over the world this year. And our relationship with our partner firms also increased throughout the continents of the world.
We continue to interface with NOTAP on behalf of clients looking to expand businesses to Nigeria through franschising. We review master franschise agreements to ensure the same meets NOTAP’s requirement.
The firm continues to grow its trans-border filings towards meeting client’s needs in Nigeria and elsewhere, we also partner with counsel in West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa towards providing excellent services to our clients who intend to protect their IPRs in both the OAPI and ARIPO countries. We were involved in protecting client’s IPRs in Libya, India, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Bahrain during the 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP.
The firm continues to render its support as the secretariat of the Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration (“ACC”). Through the ACC, the firm intensifies its commitment towards sensitizing brand owners and the general public on the effect of counterfeiting and ways of reducing same. Through this, the firm as Secretariat of the ACC coordinates the activities of brand owners towards the protection of their IPRs. The Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration (“ACC”), Nigeria, in collaboration with International Trademark Association (INTA), successfully organized the second edition of its annual Anti-counterfeiting Collaboration Roundtable – a capacity building workshop for regulators in Nigeria. The Roundtable held in October and had in attendance representatives from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and United States Consulate in Nigeria. Also in attendance were brand owners, lawyers and regulatory agencies brainstorming on practical ways to tackle the menace.
In this year, the firm was rated as the law firm of the year by Who’s Who Legal and awarded Firm of Year at the first ever Nigerian Legal Award organized by ESQ/BusinessDay. The firm’s core practice areas were rated top in the different categories. Details of this and other news are already provided below in the bulletin.
The firm is poised in its commitment to continue to provide best services for its clients all over the world and lead the Intellectual Property Law Practice in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa by building on the successes recorded in the past and preparing for the future in all genres of intellectual property law. With this in mind, we hope for a better working relationship with our numerous clients and partner firms in the years ahead.
From our team and on behalf of Aluko & Oyebode, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous year 2011.
The Trade Marks and Patent Registry Move Offices
Within the year, the Trade Mark and Patent Registry moved from its former location to a new state of the art facility. The Registry had over time experienced challenges in respect of proper coordination of the numerous files containing several applications it receives each day due its space constraint. From its now spacious location, it is hoped that the registry will continue to provide best services to its numerous stakeholders.
The Victoria Crown Plaza Hotel came aglow on 27 October 2010 at the Roundtable organized by the Anti Counterfeiting Collaboration (ACC) in conjunction with the Anti-Counterfeiting Committee of the International Trademarks Association (ACC/INTA). At the event, there were presentation of papers and roundtable discussions on the menace of counterfeiting and piracy of genuine brands as well as practical ways of countering same. Participants also discussed on collaborative measures between brand owners/stakeholders, the press, IP practitioners and regulatory agencies. At the end of the programme, a communiqué was issued which is expected to be presented to Nigeria’s Federal Legislature and which is expected to form part of the Nigerian Intellectual Property Legislation.
The event had in attendance a consultant from the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Victor Guizar, the Chief, Political/Economic Section of the United State Consulate General Lagos Office, Philip Drouin, the Managing Director of GlaxoSmithKline, Nigeria, Leke Asuni; as well as the Head of Legal, West Africa Area of British American Tobacco, Nigeria (BATN), Sade Morgan. Also in attendance were representatives from Nigerian regulatory agencies including the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Trade Mark Registry of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, amongst others.
The law firm of Aluko & Oyebode was recently rated the Nigerian Law Firm of the Year by the Nigerian Legal Awards, an initiative of the ESQ Magazine and Businessday Newspapers. ESQ is the foremost magazine providing frontline report and review of activities of legal practitioners in Nigeria while Businessday Newspaper is one of the foremost business report dailies in Nigeria. the Nigerian Legal Awards was endorsed by the Nigerian Bar Association, the British Nigerian Lawyers Forum and the Nigerian Lawyers Association.
At its first edition held on 9 December 2010 at the expansive ball room of the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, the Nigerian Legal Awards rated Aluko & Oyebode as the law firm of the year. Apart from this, one of the firm’s Partners, Kofo Dosekun, was awarded the Best Female lawyer of the year while the firm’s Project Finance Team was rated the Team of the Year in the Project Finance category. The firm was nominated in 14 practice areas including intellectual Property.
The awards confirm earlier ratings of international agencies like Who’s Who Legal and IFLR 100, both awarded 2010 Law Firm of the year to Aluko & Oyebode for Nigerian jurisdiction and as first in a number of practice areas including Project Finance, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, Mergers and Acquisition and Intellectual Property Law.
Nigerian Bar Association Section of Business Law Conference on Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
Uche Nwokocha, the Intellectual Property Law Partner of the firm, delivered a paper at the 1st Conference organized by the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Committee of the Section on Business Law of the Nigerian Bar Association.
At the event which had in attendance lawyers in different areas of practice including intellectual property law, Uche Nwokocha presented a paper titled: “Intellectual Property and Franchising: Protecting and Growing Busines/Brand through Co-Branding; Are Two Brands better than One? She discussed the concept of franchising; a part of intellectual property which is gradually finding its way into the Nigerian jurisdiction.
Uche also discussed the basic checklists of a franchise agreement, among others.