In Nigeria, the whole regime of Intellectual Property (IP) and the protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) is defined and regulated by several statutes and regulations. These include the Copyright Act, the Patents and Designs Act , and the Trade Marks Act, among others. These legislative instruments provide for ways of protecting trade marks and other IPRs through the courts by a melange of remedies for any infringement on guaranteed rights. These remedies include different types of injunctions, suit for damages, inspections and delivery, among others.
This edition of TEMPLARS IP Newsletter deals with the issue of ‘Suing for Passing-Off’ in Nigerian Courts. This is an issue that has generated so much controversy both within the judicial system and the academia in Nigeria. The major diverging point for most part seems to be whether the Federal High Court could be the proper and exclusive locus to adjudicate issues relating to ‘passing-off’, especially when the mark to be protected has not been registered under the Trade Marks Act. Several litigants have had odysseys through the court system in Nigeria from the High Courts to the Supreme Court on this issue, and in the process, the tort of ‘passing-off’ has received some elaborate mention.