Only the proprietor of a registered trade mark may take steps to protect his mark under the Nigeria Trade Marks Act. Investment in innovation and goodwill in one’s trading name may be wasted unless one takes steps to protect oneself against competitors seeking to take unfair advantage of another’s efforts or reputation.
An unregistered trademark in Nigeria which has been long in use and is widely known to be the mark of a trademark owner may only be protected in a common law action for passing off. Legal consequences and remedies available for enforcing a trade mark in Nigeria include action for passing off, damages, infringement and opposition to registration or rectification of a trade mark.
We seek to manage and mitigate risk and to maximise the return from intellectual property (IP) assets for the benefit of our clients. We advise on all aspects of the creation, exploitation and enforcement of IP rights.
Our clients operate in a wide range of industry sectors including Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology and Healthcare, Financial Institutions, Telecoms, Media, Sport, Consumer Goods and Retail.
We handle:
    • disputes covering the full spectrum of intellectual property rights – these range from complex patent actions to all forms of dispute relating to trade marks, passing off, copyright, database rights, design rights and breach of confidence claims. Our experience encompasses multi-jurisdictional and domestic disputes at every level including proceedings in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the registries including the European Patent Office and the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM). We regularly advise on cross-border litigation strategy. We also advise on Competition Litigation, working with lawyers from our Competition group (Competition Litigation) and we have played an innovative role in developing competition law defences to patent infringement actions in the Nigerian and European Union Courts
    • IP related agreements – these include trademark licensing, distribution agreements, sponsorship agreements and franchising deals. Our specialist Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology and Healthcare team deals with licensing, collaboration and research and development agreements. We also provide strategic advice in managing and commercialising patent and trade mark portfolios
    • transactional work – which includes advising on mergers and acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures where technology or brands are integral to the transaction, structure or value. This may involve establishing sophisticated licensing structures, conducting complex due diligence exercises on very substantial portfolios of patents, trade marks and copyright works and advising on the creation and enforcement of security interests over IP assets
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