The Trademarks Registry, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has began digitisation of its processes to improve trademarks activities and tackle quacks in the sector.
The Registrar, Trademarks Registry, Commercial Law Department of the Ministry, Adamu Yauri, disclosed this in Abuja while speaking with newsmen at a two-day training for examiners in the trademarks registry.
The training which targets 100 examiners was organised by the International Trademarks Association (INTA) in collaboration with the registry.
The registry under the ministry is saddled with the responsibility of registration, administration and protection of trademarks rights in Nigeria.
Yauri said that tackling quacks in the sector was one of the key areas which the minister was passionate about, adding that the permanent secretary had been consistently drawing the departments attention to the menace.
“In order to address this issue, we have started a complete digitisation of our process, once we are digitised, we will come out with a register of registered trademarks agents.
If you are not registered, it means that there is no proof on your educational background, details of business including telephone numbers and email for contact and you can no longer do business with the registry.
We are addressing the issue, we are also creating a website where we will list all the services we render and the amount one is supposed to pay so that it will be opened to the public and nobody will be short changed,” he said.
Speaking on the need for sensitisation on its activities, he said it would celebrate World Intellectual Property Day on April 26.
According to the him, The idea is to make it public involving stakeholders and media to create awareness.
“The importance of trademarks is that it gives a consumer the right of choice, it is through trademark that you recognise the products you will buy in the market.
It is through the instrumentality of the intellectual property covered by trademark that you identify a particular product you will purchase.
Beyond that, the ministry has now made it a point of duty on each of its activities to mainstream the function of the registry in its activities.
We intend as a separate project to start campaigning round the country on the importance of trademark,’’ he said.
The registrar further explained that consumers recognised a product in the market through branding to enable them to make repeated purchase.
According to him, if a brand is not protected it is likely to be abused or copied. It is likely for somebody to take advantage of it without authority because it is not registered.
He noted that there were sanctions for violators, adding that the trademarks act provided certain claims for damages in case of abuse.
The registrar also said that the court may order confiscation of goods of offending party and account for profit from the benefit that had been drawn from the use or sale of such offending act.
The INTA, Africa and Middle East Representative, Tat-Tieme Louembe, said Nigeria was its key jurisdiction, adding that it would increase its collaboration with the registry to align it with international standard.
According to him, it will continue to provide capacity building training and support to enhance the examiners and the activities of the trademarks registry.
INTA is a global association of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property (IP) to foster consumer trust, economic growth, and innovation.