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.