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85 Trademark Rep. 447 (1995)
Recent Developments and Imminent Changes in Nigerian Trademark Law and Practice

handle is hein.journals/thetmr85 and id is 467 raw text is: Vol. 85 TMR


By Bankole Sodipo*
It is expected that Nigeria will soon introduce new trademark
legislation in the form of the Industrial Property Law (Proposed
Law). This will replace the Trade Marks Act 1965,1 which is
essentially identical to the recently repealed United Kingdom's
Trade Marks Act, 1938. The Proposed Law is based on draft
legislation which was prepared by the Nigerian Law Reform
Commission in 19902 and which set out, as one of the aims of any
new trademark law, to curb the incidents of piracy and counter-
feiting which have been on the increase. This article attempts to
set out the current practice and indicate expected changes under
the Proposed Law.
A notable feature of the Proposed Law is its better organiza-
tion and clarity of language which makes for easier reading. It
seeks inter alia, to do the following:
(a) expand the meaning of a mark;
(b) abolish the two-part register system;
* Partner in the firm of Chief G.O. Sodipo & Co., Lagos, Nigeria, Associate Member
of the International Trademark Association; foreign member of the Institute of Trade
Marks Agents (UK). The author wishes to thank Christopher Ryan of the TMR Editorial
Board for his editorial suggestions and guidance.
1. No. 29 of 1965, now Cap 436 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.
2. Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Working Paper on the Reform of Industrial
Property Law, Lagos (1990) [hereinafter referred to as Working Paper]. Since the advent
of the military, the law making process has taken an irregular form. Some laws are passed
without any consultation or debate, others are passed in response to the lobby of particular
interests groups, while some are passed after the recommendations of the Nigerian Law
Reform Commission. Most laws are passed only after the approval of the Armed Forces
Ruling Council and the Council of Ministers. This Proposed Law was publicly debated at
a national workshop organized by the Law Reform Commission in February 1991. It has
since received necessary approvals and only awaits the signature of the Head of State. One
of the issues that has slowed down the passage of the law is the reactions of the
international pharmaceutical industry to remove product patent protection for pharmaceuti-
cals in Nigeria. The author was party to the lobby that eventually removed this provision
from the Proposed Law. The author believes that if the relevant industries and trademark
practitioners lobby, the law will be passed, but there has been no concerted efforts until of
recent when the author's firm initiated the formation of an Industrial Property Law
Interest Group, IPLIG in April 1995. It is hoped that through the activities of the IPLIG,
the Proposed Law will be passed and the administration of industrial property in Nigeria
will improve.

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