Case Challenging the Appointment of the Registrar of Trademarks in Nigeria Continues

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The case filed by the Registered Trustees of Intellectual Property Lawyers Association Nigeria (IPLAN) challenging the competence of the Ministry of Trade and Investment to appoint and dismiss the Registrar of Trademarks, Patents and Designs in Nigeria has been adjourned by the Federal High Court to March 14, 2017.

The case which was originally filed by IPLAN in 2015, is seeking an interpretation by the Federal High Court of the provisions of Section 1 of the Trademarks Act and Section 28 (1) of the Patents and Designs Act. Both sections empower the Federal Civil Service Commission to appoint the Registrar of Trademarks, Patents and Designs.

Section 1 of the Trademarks Act:

There shall continue to be an officer known as the Registrar of Trade Marks (in this Act referred to as “the Registrar) who shall be appointed by the Federal Civil Service Commission and whose office shall be situated in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Section 28 of the Patents and Designs Act:

There shall be a Registrar of Patents and Designs, who shall be appointed by the Federal Civil Service Commission.

IPLAN alleged that there were irregularities in the appointment of the Registrar and seeks to compel the relevant agencies of the Federal Government to follow due process as the Registrar’s office and function is very crucial and sensitive ‎to the protection of intellectual property rights in Nigeria.

TheNigeriaLawyer reports that IPLAN in its Affidavit in Support stated that it is committed to safeguarding and protecting innovation and the integrity of Nigeria’s intellectual property laws.

The Association maintains that public confidence in the administration of intellectual property in Nigeria will be significantly improved once the Court resolves the case one way or the other.

Lead Counsel to the Association, Mr. Folarin Aluko, of Trumann Rockwood Solicitors, has also asked the Court to determine the validity of acts done by persons not duly appointed by the provisions of Sections 1 of the Trademarks Act and Section 28 (1) of the Patents and Designs Act. The Registrar of Trademarks, Patents and Designs is a quasi-judicial officer created by the Trademarks Act and Patents and Designs Act, respectively. The drafters of both Acts in their wisdom entrusted the appointment (and dismissal) of qualified persons to the Federal Civil Service Commission”.

Final arguments will be heard on March 14, 2017.

Source: TheNigeriaLawyer

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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 178 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: uakpotaire@nlipw.com