INTA Makes Significant Inroads in Nigeria Through Advocacy Outreach

Published: December 1, 2018

Tat-Tienne Louembe, Representative, Africa, Middle East, and Inter-Governmental Organizations, engaged with key policymakers during the week of October 22, in Abuja, Nigeria. Building on the work undertaken by local members, the advocacy tour was an interesting opportunity to further engage with key stakeholders.

Thanks to the efforts of Akeem Aponmade (A.O. Aponmade & Co., Nigeria), a member of INTA’s Enforcement Committee, discussions took place with Jonathan Gunu Taidi, the recently elected General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). With a membership of more than 105,406 lawyers active in 125 branches across the 36 Nigerian states, the NBA is a professional, nonprofit, umbrella association whose members are lawyers. In line with previous interactions, Mr. Taidi was keen to learn about cooperation with INTA. He expressed the NBA’s commitment in expediting the organization of a training for Nigerian lawyers and judges on trademarks and related rights.

In a meeting with Abubakar Malami, Attorney General and Federal Minister of Justice, INTA was briefed on the latest developments pertaining to the the adoption of the Industrial Property Commission (IPCOM) bill. The legislation is expected to revamp the IP infrastructure in Nigeria and hence help the country to diversify its economy through the development of a vibrant non-oil industry.

In addition, accompanied by INTA member Davidson Oturu (AELEX, Nigeria) and staff from the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Mr. Louembe met with Justice Rosaline Bozimo, Head of the National Judicial Institute (NJI). The institution serves as the principal focal point of judicial activities relating to the promotion of efficiency, uniformity, and improvement in the quality of judicial services in the superior and inferior courts in Nigeria. During the meeting, the participants agreed to step up efforts to organize a workshop for judges on trademarks as a way to increase their expertise in this field and to facilitate knowledge sharing.

At the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the INTA team met with Okechukwu Enyinna Enelamah, Federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, and explored ways to streamline service delivery within the Industrial Property Office. In the same vein, Mr. Louembe had a one-on-one meeting with the new Registrar of the Industrial Property Office, Shafiu Yauri, who expressed his strong willingness to work with INTA on capacity-building activities and other means to meet the demands of various national and international users. Last but not least, the team met with Mohammed Babadende, Chief IPR Unit Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). Among other topics, the Customs Service proposed greater collaboration between the Trademarks Registry and customs.

Informal meetings took place with senior officials, including the Commissioner of Trade and Industry and the Commissioner of Human Resource, Science and Technology, of the African Union; Technical Advisers of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; officers at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment dealing with trade matters; and government officials at the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) in charge of free trade zones.

INTA Representative Tat-Tienne Louembe supports the Association’s 510 members across Africa and the Middle East. In collaboration with the staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City and Representatives Offices around the world, Mr. Louembe works on the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives in these regions. To learn more about INTA’s activities in Africa and the Middle East, please contact Tat-Tienne Louembe at [email protected].

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

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