Sunday, 15 January 2012

First the strike, then the backlog: grim news from Nigeria

Afro-IP thanks Bolanle Olowu (Partner, IPI Watch Services, Lagos) for the following information concerning the national strike in Nigeria and its effect on trade mark, patent and design filings:
"The Nigeria Labor Congress, Trade Union Congress and Coalition of Civil societies embarked on a nationwide strike to protest the recent increase in the price of premium motor spirit (petrol) in Nigeria on 9 January, 2012. As a result of the nationwide strike, 98% of offices were shut down including Government offices, as well as the Trademarks, Patent and Design registry. 
This action automatically translates to huge loss of commercial revenue generated daily from Trade Marks, Patent and Design filings, renewals and all other antecedent processes that emanate from intellectual property transactions. It is been widely reported that the resultant effect of the strike on the country’s economy is a loss of about 617 Million dollars per day since the strike started.

In relating this to the income generated by the registry daily, it may not be possible to give you precise figures, but it is on record that we have increased filings of intellectual property rights yearly with an estimated filing of about 98,000 or more applications filed last year. 
This current impasse brings to mind amongst others the question of how the registry will deal with the issue of convention applications claiming priority which falls between the days of the strike. That is a decision for the Registrar to make upon resumption as the Nigerian Trade Marks, Patent and Design Acts do not make provisions for such circumstances. 
In all of this, one thing that is clear is that the registry will be inundated with new applications and matters to deal with in addition to the existing backlog.

Trade mark agents and registry officials will certainly not be looking forward to dealing with the excess work upon resumption".
Bolanle promises to keep us updated on further developments.

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