Nigeria’s Ministry of Industry, Trademarks Registry of the Commercial Law Department (CLD) recently announced the publication of the very first “Compendium of Rulings of Trademarks Tribunal” in a letter circulated to all trademarks agents and owners within Nigeria.
The 664-pages-long Compendium sets out decisions taken in trademarks opposition proceedings over trademark filings within the country.
Senator Ihenyen, lead partner of the IP law firm Infusion Lawyers welcomed the initiative.
“Although the Registry is lagging behind - considering what its counterparts have been up to even in other African countries - I celebrate the publication.”
“Having access to a set of decisions taken in opposition proceedings will be a great resource to trademark practitioners, owners and agents. This will not only enhance brand protection strategy, including brand development, trademark registration and trademark monitoring, but also aid dispute-resolution strategies. We need data that helps us develop insights, thus enabling us to add value to clients’ businesses.”
Nta Ekpiken and Christian Aniukwu, both attorneys in the Intellectual Property Practice of one of Nigeria’s leading law firms, Aluko & Oyebode, agree the Compendium is a giant stride forward as opposition rulings especially have, until now, only been in the hands of parties to a particular opposition matter.
“Other stakeholders may not have access or may not have knowledge of the existence of such rulings. In the absence of any compilation of such rulings, the subsequent tribunals are not bound by previous decisions from the same Tribunal from an earlier time.”
They also note that the Compendium will be important to: trademark attorneys (who will be able to rely on it to advise their clients and prepare their written addresses in opposition matters); new lawyers; and international clients.
“An international brand that has access to the Compendium (as well as the advice rendered to it by its local attorneys) can easily consult and read up the rulings in the Compendium to reach a decision as to how the trademark Tribunal might react to any peculiar course of action,” they said.
The Compendium brings it closer to international best practices and standards.
IP attorneys and enthusiasts across Nigeria have lauded the introduction of the compendium. However, the price of ₦30,000 (approximately £64) may be considered too expensive especially by young lawyers given that such rulings are usually freely available online in other jurisdictions.