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Sep 02, 2014 (Newsletter Issue 13/14)
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Trademark Application Procedures Tightened Up

The Nigerian Registrar of Trademarks (and Patents and Designs) is conducting a campaign to tighten up procedures throughout the Registry.

Under the Regulations, official actions are to be notified in writing, and unless within two months the applicant (or agent) applies for a hearing or makes a considered reply in writing the application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn. For many years that time limit has not been enforced and responses have been entertained after substantial delay. The Registrar has now made it clear that responses, received after the statutory term, will be disregarded and the application treated as abandoned.

The Regulations contain provisions for this time limit, like others, to be extended at the Registrar’s discretion and it is generally accepted law that an authority such as the Registrar must actually exercise her discretion, and may not pre-determine that extensions of time will never be granted. Evidently also, pending applications where responses are already overdue will have to be considered on a reasonable basis.

The above points are under discussion with the Registrar. It is nevertheless noted for general information that, in future, extensions of time beyond the prescribed two months will at best be difficult to secure without very good reasons and (predictably involving hearings), expensive as well.

The good news from Nigeria on the Intellectual Property fron includes:
1) A general strategiy to improve the operations and records in the Industrial Property Office.
2) The enhancement of copright protection.

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa