Ghana IP Registry Closed Due to Strike Action (update)

The Ghana Intellectual Property Registry staff as members of the Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOSSAG) began a nationwide strike on 27th of July 2016 following the government’s failure to pay CLOSSG members interim premium (a monetary incentive paid to attract and retain critical skills in short supply). CLOSSAG has over 50,000 members working at various ministries and local assemblies Due to the current strike action we have been informed that the IP registry will not be conducting any business until the strike action is called off by CLOSSAG. CLOSSAG is said to be meeting with the relevant authorities on Wednesday 3rd of August and a successful outcome will ensure that th

Update on Nigerian Copyright Commission Raids

The Nigeria Communication Commission in the first half of the 2016 raided various warehouses in the north central, South East and south west parts of the country. During the raids, pirated books and materials worth several millions of dollars were confiscated. The raids were carried out by a combined team of Copyright Commission Inspectors, representatives of the Nigerian Publishers Association and the Nigeria Police Force. The raids resulted in the prosecution of ten new cases against copyright infringers in different Federal High Court Jurisdictions across the country. There are also about eleven pending Court of Appeal cases currently being handled by the commission.

Your Caller Tune? My Copyright.....Tanzanian Court Awards Landmark Damages for Copyright Infringemen

East African copyright law has recently risen to the fore of IP rights enforcement with several recent successful enforcement decisions being published. After a lengthy four-year battle, Tanzanian musicians / Bongo flava / rappers, Ambwene Yessaya “AY” and Hamisi Mwinjuma “MwanaFA”, recently reaped the reward of 1.2 million dollars in special damages, raising the precedents bar on damages in relation to copyright infringement in Tanzania. The award also included a separate 11 thousand dollars in general damages. The matter was based on Mobile telecommunication company Millicom International Cellular Tanzania (Tigo), who was accused of exploiting the works of the two musicians through the una

Nigeria and Algeria to host Africa's first regional WIPO office

The bid to host the first Africa Regional Office of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), has been won by Nigeria and Algeria. This follows the decision by WIPO member states at the 2016/17 Biennium to prioritize the opening of an external regional office in Africa. Countries interested in hosting the regional office submitted bids to WIPO which were then presented before the Intra-african assembly for voting. Nigeria won the bid by taking first place with 33 votes and Algeria garnering 29 votes put it firmly in second place at the recent Assembly of member states of WIPO meeting in Geneva Switzerland. WIPO maintains a headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland, with five regional

Nigeria tops the list of clients most filed-in Jurisdiction in Africa 2016.

Nigeria is consistently at the top of our list of most filed-in jurisdictions for our clients filing in Africa as it hosts one of the largest populations on the continent with a rapidly growing retail market. As was confirmed by the Nigerian courts in a recent trade mark case, Nigeria is a first to file jurisdiction and we therefore advise that the registration of trade marks is an essential and necessary step for any rights holder looking to import goods into this market. Due to the nature of our business relationship with a local attorney, we can effectively do away with an additional layer of fees. The effect of this is that our fees for filing patent, trade mark and design applications i

MTN pays out Artist for unauthorized use of a sound recording as ring back tunes.

MTN, a mobile telecom service provider in Nigeria in a spate of bad luck finds itself in court for the third time this year for IP infringement claims. This time the claim was brought about by Abuja based entertainer/artist, Mr. Omenuwoma Dovie a.k.a. Baba 2010 for the unauthorized use of his music as a ring-back caller tune by the company. Having had their fair share of bad press, MTN has acted quickly and reached an out of court settlement with the Artist Baba 2010. In a turn of events following the settlement of the initial claim, the Nigeria Copyright Commission instituted a criminal prosecution against the company stating that regardless of the settlement the commission will = pursue t

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