Volunteer Spotlight: Davidson Oturu

Published: February 1, 2020

Nina O’Sullivan Mishcon de Reya London, UK

Davidson Oturu (ÁELEX, Nigeria) has been actively involved in INTA since 2007, having spent several terms on the Association’s Legislation and Regulation Committee, as well as serving as a member of the Africa Global Advisory Council (AGAC). A particular INTA highlight for Mr. Oturu came recently, in April 2019, when he was involved in a project organizing and delivering a two-day training workshop for trademark examiners at the Trademark Office in Abuja, Nigeria. Describing the workshop as a “huge success,” he identifies this as an example of one the valuable opportunities of knowledge-sharing initiatives that INTA provides.

Being engaged in INTA also has enabled Mr. Oturu to get involved in discussions over new trademark laws and regulations. Over the past few years, as a representative of INTA’s AGAC, he has met with government regulators and legislators to discuss updates to intellectual property (IP) laws and the introduction of a national IP Policy.

Mr. Oturu’s IP practice is broad, and covers both IP counseling and contentious matters spanning multiple jurisdictions. He also advises technology companies on their IP rights, licensing, and regulatory compliance, with a focus on the use of fintech and blockchain technologies in their businesses and in the delivery of financial services. His activities in this space led to his appointment as a member of the Fintech Roadmap Committee set up by the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission with the mandate to produce a framework for the use of fintech in the Nigerian capital markets.

According to Mr. Oturu, a pressing issue for trademark practitioners in Nigeria is the need for updated laws covering the protection of famous and well-known trademarks. Although Nigeria is a signatory to TRIPS, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, it remains unratified. Mr. Oturu notes that the Nigerian Trademarks Registry still routinely allows marks to proceed to registration when they are similar to unregistered famous and well-known marks. He hopes that Trademarks Bill 2018, which includes provisions to protect unregistered famous and well-known marks, will pass into law in the next few years. More generally, Mr. Oturu identifies developments in plain packaging legislation as an important global issue, representing a challenging balancing act between public health arguments and protection of IP rights.

Mr. Oturu spends his spare time volunteering with various charitable institutions. He also mentors young lawyers and budding entrepreneurs. His favorite trademarks are Coca-Cola (his favorite beverage) and Nike’s “Just Do It!” slogan, which he finds an inspirational message.

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.

© 2020 International Trademark Association