Overhauling the Trademark Registry

As a side hustle (every Nigerian has one), the Lady recently considered providing Trademark registration services in addition to business registrations. After much deliberation, the Lady has decided to put that on hold. Why? Refer to here and here.

This led the Lady to reflect on what she would do to overhaul the system if she were appointed the Registrar of Trademarks. (A Lady is allowed to dream.) Here goes:

  1. Close the Registry to the public for a year! No new friends The backlog needs to be cleared and she doubts it can be done alongside new ones. Closing it to the public will no doubt have its downsides.
  2. Digitise all registered trademarks and devices. This can be done during the closure or during renewal for old marks that have not been captured on the IPO website.
  3. Create an online search database for registered trademarks and devices. This follows from the previous point. The Lady wants a situation where anyone can easily search the database as she did with the Skippy and Super County peanut butter incident.
  4. Draft procedural guidelines for trademark examinations. The Lady has received flimsy denials that were overturned on appeal and ought not to have been issued in the first instance. This will be done in conjunction with experts across the globe and locally.
  5. Employ trained experts – tech gurus and design experts to assist with backend logistics as well assist with determining distinctiveness.
  6. Establish a professional certifying body for trademark examiners. If people are going to invest so much in coming up with trademarks, the least that can be done is having experts attend to the registration process.
  7. Publish a digital trademark weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Dispense with that poorly printed journal. The Lady is aware that is a major source of income, but there are other ways to make money.
  8. Create an online trademark docket system for easier management.
  9. Have scheduled quarterly tribunals to deal with appeals.
  10. Produce a quarterly and annual report of registered trademarks.
  11. Push for a new Trademarks Act enacted and have foreign treaties ratified.
  12. Create a separate and functioning website for the Registry, which will be separate from the registration Portal. The public needs more information on the operations of the Registry.

These are some of the ideas the Lady is willing to share for now. If you were the Registrar of Trademarks in your country, what would you do differently?

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