News from the Manor Vol 19

  1. Singapore Launches Public Consultation on its Copyright Regime: The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) launched a public consultation to gather public feedback on proposed changes to Singapore’s copyright regime on August 23, 2016. The review seeks to ensure that Singapore’s copyright regime continues to provide an environment that benefits both creators and users in view of technological developments in the past decade. A summary of the issues under consultation can be found in Annex A. The public consultation will run for two months, ending on October 24, 2016 (5pm). Members of the public are invited to submit their views online via or in hard copy to the following address:

    Intellectual Property Policy Division

    Ministry of Law

    100 High Street

    #08-02, The Treasury

    Singapore 179434

  2. WIPO Appoints New Legal Counsel: WIPO has recently appointed Frits Bontekoe to head its legal team.Frits will be replacing Edward Kwakwa who now is  a senior director of the WIPO Department of Traditional Knowledge and Global Challenges, in the Global Issues Sector. Frits joins WIPO from his previous role as legal counsel at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). More on that here.

News from the Manor Vol 18

  1. WIPO Publishes Global Innovation Index 2016: Last week, we mentioned that the  results of the Global Innovation Index 2016 would be released soon. Well, the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, was released by Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO on August 15, 2016 with Switzerland, Sweden, UK, USA, Finland, Singapore taking the lead. For the first time, a middle-income country (China) has joined the ranks of the world’s 25 most-innovative economies since inception of the survey. More on that here.
  2. India Launches first IP Crime Unit: In order deal with the menace of piracy, the state of Telangana, India has launched India’s first IP Crime Unit – Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit (TIPCU). The Unit is modeled upon UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and will operate under the cyber crime wing of the CID. TIPCU’s main task will be to monitor online piracy and recommend blocking of websites providing pirated contents, identify the perpetrators and pursue action. More here, here and here.
  3. Readers of WIPO Magazine have been invited to complete this survey ‘to better understand your interests and reading habits so that we can deliver the content you want to read in the formats you prefer’. The survey will close on September 9, 2016.

News from the Manor Vol 17

  1. WIPO to Open External Offices in Africa: Following the submission of hosting proposals by African Member States in respect of hosting WIPO external offices, voting was held in Geneva on August 4, 2016 and Algeria and Nigerian were chosen to host WIPO external offices for North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa respectively. Only six African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya and Nigeria) filed their hosting applications before the deadlines set by the United Nations. More on that here and here. The hosting proposals can also be read here.
  2. Ghana IP Registry Closed Due to Strike Action: Following the nationwide strike action embarked on by the Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOSSAG) on July 27, 2016, of which the Ghana Intellectual Property Registry staff are members, the  Ghana IP Registry remains closed. The strike is due to government’s failure to pay CLOSSAG members interim premium (a monetary incentive paid to attract and retain critical skills in short supply). More on that here and here.
  3. Ed Sheeran is being sued by the family of a co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” who believe that Ed Sheeran’s hit, “Thinking Out Loud” is based on it. More on that here.
  4. WIPO to release Global Innovation Index 2016: The results of the Global Innovation Index 2016 will be released on August 15, 2016 at a press conference in the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016 will focus on global innovation networks, ranking the innovation performance of 128 countries and economies around the world, based on 82 indicators. Follow the press conference live and join the conversation using #GII2016.

Lazy…not so lazy Saturday Reads

  1. The August 2016 edition of WIPO Magazine is out and in the spirit of the ongoing Olympics, there’s an article on that. IP-related of course.
  2. We had previously mentioned here, that Angela Daly‘s book Socio-legal Aspects of the 3-D Printing Revolution was scheduled for release in June 2016. It’s out now and  has been kind enough to review it here
  3. If you have been following the US Presidential elections, you would have heard by now the plagiarism allegations leveled against Melania Trump for copying parts of Michelle Obama’s speech. IP Whiteboard has this to say about that.
  4. WIPO is about to open external offices in Africa – Algeria and Nigeria. 6 African Member States submitted their proposals, which you can read here. Looks like the right time for the Lady to update her CV. WIPO, here we come!
  5. Ever wondered why you can’t find some of your favourite music artistes on Spotify? Here’s why.
  6. Recently, the Lady came across a tweet that forbade someone for using the Rio2016 hashtag and thought it was ridiculous. Well, it appears not to be hence the question –  Are companies allowed to tweet about #Rio2016?

News from the Manor Vol 8

  1. KIPI Publishes Drafting Instructions for Public Comment: Following proposals made by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) and its stakeholders to repeal the Trade Marks Act, Cap 506 of the Laws of Kenya, KIPI has published  soft copies of the Drafting Instructions and the proposals to repeal the Trade Marks Act:

    Drafting_Instructions_for_Trade_Mark_Rules_2016 Drafting_Instructions_for_Trade_Mark_Bill_2015

    Comments, additions and or amendments to the Drafting Instructions from the public are to be submitted  to the Institute on or before April 30, 2016 via email:

  2. Indian Government releases Indian Intellectual Property Panorama: The Indian Government has launched a customized version of IP Panorama Multimedia toolkit, developed by WIPO, Korean Intellectual Property Office and Korea Invention Promotion Association. The toolkit has been adapted to cater to SMEs and start-ups, especially in the ICTE sector of India, based on an agreement signed between WIPO and DeitY. More details here. In the alternative, the Indian IP Panorama can be accessed here.
  3. GlaxoSmithKline to Restrict Patent Filings in Developing Countries: Patents have often been at the receiving end of the access to medicine debates. Accordingly, GSK has decided not to file patents in the world’s poorest countries (50 of them). It will file patents in lower middle income countries, but will grant licences to generic manufacturers in exchange for a “small royalty”. This will allow for generic versions of GSK medicine to be produced without delay and restrictions. In addition, GSK will put all its future cancer drugs into the Medicines Patent Pool. More on that here. While this is good news, the Lady is of the opinion that developing countries still need to invest in research and development given the abundant natural resources in some of these countries.
  4. One-day strike at the European Patent Office (EPO): On Thursday, April 7, 2016 workers of the EPO embarked on a one-day strike protesting management behaviour and demanding fair treatment of staff. More details here, here and here.
  5. Managing IP has published the final 2016 rankings of the top firms for copyright work in over 20 jurisdictions. More on that here and here for Nigerian firms.


News from the Manor Vol 4

…and we are back to regular programming!

  1. Nice Classification Updated: The International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks was established by an Agreement concluded at the Nice Diplomatic Conference, on June 15, 1957 and was amended in 1979. Parties to the Nice Agreement have adopted the Nice Classification for registering trademarks. The Nice Classification, which was first published in 1963, is now in its tenth edition. The latest version of said edition (2016 version), which entered into force on January 1, 2016 has since been made available online by WIPO.
  2. COSON in Owerri: The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) will be hosting a Stakeholders’ Forum for copyright owners in the South-East and South-South states of Nigeria on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 in Imo, Owerri State. Details here.
  3. Managing IP Publishes IP Stars 2016 Trade Mark Rankings: Managing IP recently announced its 2016 rankings of the top firms for trademark work in over 70 jurisdictions. Debuting in the Nigerian category is G. O. Sodipo & Co. About time, the Lady says. The 2016 rankings for patent and copyright will be published in March and April, respectively. The rankings can be viewed here.
  4. World IP Day Theme for 2016 Announced: The World IP Day is celebrated every April 2016 to promote discussion of the role of intellectual property in encouraging innovation and creativity. 2016 is no exception and as has been the norm, WIPO has announced the theme for this year’s celebration, which is captured below.

    2016 IP Day
    World IP Day 2016
  5. WIPO Green Welcomes New Partner: WIPO Green has welcomed two new partners – The Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC) and The Environment Public Authority (EPA) of Kuwait. The WIPO GREEN Network facilitates commercial relationships and transactions by connecting green technology providers and seekers. In related news, WIPO Green is calling for applications from experts to advertise in its WIPO GREEN Roster of Service Providers. This call is for experts who can provide technical assistance, advice and consultancy in all areas of green technology transfer and deal making. Sign up here.
  6. 2016 SEED Awards – Applications now Open: WIPO GREEN Partner SEED Initiative has announced that applications are now open for the 2016 edition of its SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development. The annual award scheme is designed to find the most promising, innovative and locally led start-up social and environmental enterprises in countries with developing and emerging economies. More details here.
  7. Call for contributors to IPKat: The IPKat team has announced its intention to create a new role – InternKat. There are 2 slots available for this role, which is expected to run for a period of 6 months. The call is for keen IP enthusiasts and aspiring community bloggers. The deadline for applications is 29 February 2016. Successful applicants will begin their internship on 1 April 2016. Interested? Have a look at the announcement here.

A Practical Guideline to Registering Trademarks in Nigeria

In a previous post, reference had been made to the cumbersome process involved in registering a trademark in Nigeria. The official website of the Trademarks, Patents And Designs Registry provides a theoretical guideline for registering a trademark in Nigeria. Do not be deceived by the seeming simplicity of the procedure. The reality is that registering a trademark in Nigeria is one of the most frustrating experiences you will have as a trademark owner or an attorney/agent. The Lady has contemplated reviewing the estimated timeline quoted for her clients, having previously stated between 12 – 18 months.

After reading numerous articles on various blogs/websites which merely regurgitate the procedure as laid down by the Trademarks Act, the Lady has kindly decided to share the realities involved.

  1. Availability Search: According to its website, “You can register your trademark – a name, logo, slogan, domain name, shape, colour or sound with the Commercial Law department, Ministry of Trade and Investment in Nigeria.” As far as colour or sound goes, the Lady cannot ascertain whether any have been registered. Not that the Act even contemplates same. Typically, only word searches are conducted at the Registry. This is done manually through agents (picture searching through numerous dusty and tattered files or at best, an index card) who will provide you with a handwritten report of the outcome of the search. Attaching a device is a waste of time as far as the Lady is aware. Whether the Registry issues official reports is a position that cannot be ascertained by the Lady.
  2. Filing: This is the easiest part (at least since the introduction of the online filing platform). An accredited agent logs in, fills out the relevant details and makes the necessary payment. Your attached device counts in this instance (the Lady does not recall any provision for the attachment of a sound file by the way). An acknowledgement letter is issued immediately. Thereafter, the application undergoes internal verification by the officials of the Registry.
  3. Acceptance: At this stage, your frustration may or may not begin subject to the emotions of the officer-in-charge. Acceptance is discretionary. Thus, your application may be refused for the flimsiest reason such as your trademark conflicting with a trademark previously registered and held by your good self. Yes, this is true. The Lady tells no fibs. Your application may be accepted in one class and denied in another for lack of distinctiveness (*insert confused smiley*). You will do well to consult the Act and its attendant Regulation to resolve this issue. The period between filing and acceptance may take anytime from 4 weeks upwards. If you’re unlucky, you will be informed of errors in your filling. On the other hand, your acceptance letter may be fraught with errors. Resolving this is no easy feat, but be rest assured that it can be done.
  4. Publication in the Trademark Journal: With your acceptance letter in hand, for the next few months or years, you will ask yourself and your contacts at the Registry when the next Journal will be published. Consider that there is a backlog of applications awaiting publication. Consider that some applications will be republished over and over again, and you will have to write to the Registrar to cancel subsequent republications. Consider also that the Journals for manual and online applications differ, both with irregular publication dates. If you are lucky, the Registry may publish 3 Journals within a year (case in point, year 2015). If you are unlucky, none of your applications will be contained in any of the Journals. Keep asking about the next publication and whatever you do, please do not forget to pacify your clients at regular intervals as an attorney/agent. Just in case you were wondering, the Journal is produced in hardback and not e-copies. The Registry does not even have the courtesy to announce the publication of new Journals on its website. In any event, your agent at the Registry or a colleague will notify you.
  5. Opposition: The Registry may spend about 2 months or more after the opposition period has elapsed to ‘mark’ the Journal, that is, ascertain which applications have been opposed or otherwise. Dealing with oppositions is no walk in the park and may require you chasing up on officials for a decision after all submissions have been made.
  6. Issuance of Certificates of Registration: Congratulations! How many months have gone by since you filed your application? 12? 18? More? Ah well, with any luck the Certificate of Registration may be issued shortly after publication or when oppositions have been settled in your favour. It may also be that Registrars have been changed in quick succession before they are able to sign anything. After all, there is also a backlog of certificates awaiting the Registrar’s signature.

That my dear guests, is a practical guide to registering trademarks in Nigeria. When you eventually receive your certificate, do not forget to renew it at the appointed time. As to how long the process takes, you be the judge of that.

World IP Day

Hello there and welcome to the IP Manor!

According to WIPO, April 26 was designated by member states as the World Intellectual Property day in 2000. This is in commemoration of the day the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970. The day is celebrated with the aim of increasing general understanding of IP.

As an IP enthusiast, I have chosen to launch the IP Manor on this day as my contribution to the objectives of WIPO. The theme for this year is … (cue applause)

Get up, stand up. For music.

World IP Day 2015

This theme is so apt because I love music. When I get too busy for music and I somehow stumble on it, it feels like I’ve found the missing puzzle to my life. Right now, FourFiveSeconds  is on replay in my head.

In the spirit of the day, I will share 5 of my favourite songs at the moment. I will probably look back at this list and scream ‘Shucks! I should have put this song instead!’. Nevertheless, enjoy

1. Aloe Blacc

2. Asa – Eyo

3. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

4. Rudimental – Free ft Emeli Sandé

5. Ed Sheeran – I See Fire (Kygo Remix)