Nigeria - Digitisation of trade mark records
The Nigerian Registry of Trademarks, Patents & Designs recently issued an important notice dealing with their data capture project. According to the notice, the long-overdue digitisation of the Nigerian trade mark database will start on 1 October 2015, despite a number of ‘false starts’.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is involved in the process, and a company called Trigyn Technologies has been appointed as the IT service provider.
According to the notice, the aims of the project are wide-ranging. It is hoped that the project will ‘modernise and accelerate work process and service delivery’, increase ‘the credibility of documents issued by the Registrar’, ‘facilitate the conduct of electronic searches’, and ‘boost the confidence of investors in the Nigerian economy.’ The notice ‘implores’ all trade mark owners and IP agents to ‘demonstrate understanding and co-operation while the process lasts, and to ensure that all their records with the Registry are promptly updated and/or renewed on /or before 28 September 2015.’
It is unclear exactly what ‘updating’ the Registry has in mind. Our view is that there is nothing that trade mark owners need to do at this stage.
We will, however, monitor the situation closely and keep clients advised on a case-by-case basis.
We can also report that in a recent meeting with one of our representatives, the Nigerian Registrar stated the following:
- Trade mark acceptance notices will in future be issued within one month of filing. This will apply to all applications, including those for marks for which product approvals or registrations are required under the National Agency for Food & Drug Control (NAFDAC), such as applications in classes 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 29, 30, 32 and 33.
- Trade mark journals will in future be issued more frequently.
- The Registry will look into the possibility of speeding up the issuance of certificates of registration, as it is aware of the fact that fake certificates are sometimes issued because of the delays.
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