IP news from Nigeria, Qatar and British Virgin Islands

trademarkNigeria – Starting to Digitize Physical Files on October 2015

ABUJA – The Registry for Trademarks, Patents & Designs, Commercial Law Department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, will commence the digitization of its Trademarks data from 1 October 2015.

The objectives for capturing the data and digitising are:

  • Modernize and accelerate work process as well as service delivery;
  • Improve on the credibility of documents issued by the Registry;
  • Facilitate the conduct of electronic searches by both the Registry and stakeholders, and
  • Boost the confidence of investors in the Nigerian economy.

It is expected that the Registry may experience some delays in issuing certificates during this process.

Qatar – New Requirement for Filing Patent Applications

DOHA – The Ministry of Commerce and Trade, the Intellectual Property Protection Department, Patents Unit has, on 6 September 2015, notified IP Agents that each new patent application should be accompanied by a Filing Minutes form that must include a list of the submitted documents.

This new requirement has come into force with immediate effect.

British Virgin Islands – Introducing a New Trademark Act

The House of Assembly of the British Virgin Islands has, on 30 April 2013, passed a new Trademark Act and will effectively come into force on 1 September 2015.

The implementation of the new act will substitute the current Trademark Act (Cap. 158) of 1887 and the United Kingdom Trademarks Act (Cap. 157) of 1946. The Act will also end the current dual registration system, under the provisions of which an application may either be filed independently or based on a UK registration.

A UK-based application should be filed well before the current legislation is revoked to allow trademark owners to take advantage of the existing provision.

The new legislation includes several new provisions, such as:

  • Provision for service marks, defensive marks, series marks, certification marks, and collective marks;
  • Adoption of the 10th Edition of the Nice classification;
  • Provision for multi-class registration;
  • Protection for well-known marks;
  • Priority may be claimed under the provisions of the Paris Convention;
  • Renewal period revised from 14 to 10 years;
  • Provision for removal after three years´ non-use;
  • Provision for recordal of licenses;
  • Provision for recordal of assignments without goodwill, and
  • Compulsory preliminary searches (under review).

Reported by: Firas Qumsieh
NJQ & Associates

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    The new EU trade mark Regulation enters into force on March 23rd. As a result, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) will change its name to the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

    The amending Regulation also revises the fees payable to the Office, including an overall reduction in their amounts, particularly in the case of trade mark renewal fees. On 23.3. 2016, the Office’s online application forms and fee calculator will be automatically updated to reflect the new system.
    From its base in Alicante, Spain, OHIM has processed more than 1.3 million Community trade mark applications in 23 EU languages, from nearly every country and region in the world, since 1996.

    The Amending Regulation was published on 24 December 2015 and is part of the EU trade mark reform legislative package that also includes the replacement of the existing EU Trade Mark Directive (Directive 2008/95/EC of the European Parliament and the Council).

    OHIM is the EU’s largest decentralised agency. It is entirely self-financed, receiving no funding from the EU Budget. As well as managing the Community trade mark and the registered Community design (RCD), it works in collaboration with the EU national and regional IP offices to build a stronger IP system across the EU for the benefit of users.

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