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The New Arbitration and Mediation Act: What you need to know.

July 18, 2023 in Alternative Dispute Resolution

On the 26th day of May 2023, President Muhammadu Buhari assented the Arbitration and Mediation Bill, 2022 now Arbitration and Mediation Act, 2023.
The need for new law in this area of the law is long overdue. This Act repealed the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1988.
The new Act introduced fundamental provisions in line with the modern day realities. This article seeks to set out the remarkable provisions as contained in the Act.

The Key Provisions in the Arbitration and Mediation Act.

1. Statute of Limitation: A statute of limitations is the length of time a civil or criminal case can be brought to legal proceedings. After the statute of limitations has passed, the parties in dispute can no longer take legal action. The Act provides that the period of Arbitration and Mediation will not be considered by the Court in determining whether a cause of action is statute barred. This will encourage parties to explore Arbitration and Mediation without fear. This is contained in Section 34 of the Act.

2. The Finality of the Arbitral Award : The Award can only be set aside by a court on the ground of arbitrariness and /or public policy. See section 55 (2) and 56 (9) of the Act.
3. Creation of Arbitral Award Review Tribunal: The Act also established an Arbitral Award Review Tribunal. The parties can agree to subject the Arbitral Award to first level review. An aggrieved party can subject the award to review first before resorting to the court. See section 56 of the Act.
4. Consolidation of parties and disputes : The New Act allows for consolidation of disputes. By this provision, disputes that are similar can conveniently be dealt with together. This will promote uniformity of awards. See Section 39 of the Act.
5. Stay of court proceedings: It is now compulsory for the court to stay the proceeding until the matter is subjected to Arbitration on the request of any party to the Arbitration Agreement. See Section 5 of the Act
6. Joinder of parties: Just like in court where a party who shows that he is a necessary party can be joined as parties in a suit, similar provision is now also in the Act.The Act provides that a party can now apply to be joined as necessary party provided that such party is  bound by the Arbitration Agreement.
7. Provision for an Emergency Arbitrator: The law allows a party to an Arbitration Agreement to apply for an emergency arbitrator in a case of urgent relief or where there is a need for a party to maintain the status quo pending the award, a party can make an application to the tribunal. See Section 16 of the Act.


Arbitration and Mediation is one of the mechanisms of alternative dispute resolution. The arbitration clause is common in an agreement. This is the reason for the need to be conversant with the provision of the new law so that the parties can be more intentional and know the implications of putting such clause in their agreement.
The Arbitration and Mediation Act is a great leap forward in the trajectory of Nigeria Arbitration.

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by yakubu


January 23, 2023 in Intellectual Property Law


Copyright infringement (at times referred to as piracy) is the use of works protected by copyright without permission for a usage where such permission is required, thereby infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work’s creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.
A typical example is the recent case of the popular actor, Adewole Ojo, who sued Airtel for using his picture for advert without his permission. The court ordered Airtel to pay 20 million naira as damages to him.

It is important to note that copyright law does not protect the idea behind the work , but the expression of work . The fact that a latter work bears some similarity to an existing work does not amount to an infringement of copyright . The burden is always on the copyright owner to prove that his copyright has been infringed whether in part or in whole .

The agency that addresses the issue of copyright in Nigeria is the Nigerian Copyright Commission ( NCC) . The court vested with the jurisdiction to hear copyrights infringement disputes is the Federal High Court of Nigeria as provided by section 251 of the constitution Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended .


The remedies could either be Civil or Criminal .

Civil Remedies

Reliefs for copyright infringement under section 16 of the Act May include the following;

Damages : This could either be special or General Damages . In an action for infringement of copyright , the author needs not to prove actual damage as damages are at large . It could also consist of exemplary damages in certain cases and can inter alia be compensation for pain and suffering, loss of reputation or injured feelings .

Account for profit : This mandating the infringer to render account of the profit made from such infringement and to refund the
same to the owner of the work .

Injunction : is one of the most common remedies and may either be an interlocutory injunction or an interim injunction . An injunction is an equitable remedy which seeks to prevent a person from doing a particular thing or demands a person to do a particular thing .

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Trademark Registration in Nigeria

November 8, 2022 in Intellectual Property Law

A  trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression that identifies products or services. It has been defined according to section 67 of the trademark act as a

…mark used or proposed to be used in relation to the goods for the purpose of indicating or so as to indicate a connection in the course of trade between the goods and some persons having the right either as proprietor or as a registered user to use the mark whether with or without any indication of the identity of that person.

Some businesses have logo or design that is specific and exclusive to them. When the sign is seen, their customers will easily recognise them for example the bird that is associated with Twitter.  However, a design can not be exclusive to an individual or organisation by mere usage, the person must have registered it with the Ministry of industry, trade and investment. If a design is not registered then nobody can lay claim to it. But when it is registered, such an individual with the registered trademark can sue for infringement and claim damages in a court of law.
The law that regulates trademarks is the trademark Act and trademark regulations.

The benefit of Trademark Registration
1)Protection of the business identity
2) Exclusive use of the mark
3) Protection of the mark by the law.
4) Distinctiveness: The goods or services will stand out among others.

How to register a trademark
It is only an accredited agent of the trademark registry that register trademarks.

What can be registered
Any device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, letter, colour mark, numeral, or any combination thereof may be registered as a trade mark.  Three-dimensional marks are also eligible for trade mark protection.

Requirements for trademark
The following documents and information will be required for trademark registration.
• the name, nationality and address of the proprietor of the trade mark;
• representation of the trade mark;
• specification of goods/services for which the trade mark is sought to be registered;
• the class of goods/services; and
• an executed Power of Attorney in favour of an authorised agent or attorney to be filed at the Trademarks Registry.

Registration with the corporate affairs commission does not suffice if such a business has a distinctive mark, sign or logo. To enjoy exclusive use of a symbol such must have been registered as a trademark in the trademark registry with the ministry of industry, trade and investment.
It is also important to note that when a mark is not registered, the person claiming ownership can still get a remedy by instituting an action in passing off. Passing off action is the action that is instituted when a mark is not registered. However, It is easier to win a case when a mark is registered than when it is not.






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October 3, 2022 in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution as the name implies, means settlement of disputes by third party without resorting to litigation. Before Nigeria  was colonised by the Britain, Nigeria  had a way of settling  their disputes. The four most recognised method in traditional societies are Negotiation, Mediation, Adjudication or Arbitration and Reconciliation. The traditional society also has a way of enforcing their resolution. In modern days, not all disputes gets to court, there are matters that are settled amicably among family members or religious leaders.

In this instance, the settlement  does not have any force of law and none of the parties can be compelled to agree to the resolution. ADR has been recognised by the Court.

Lagos State High Court has Multidoor courthouse where issues are resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution. Since the purpose of the court is to achieve fairness and justice and ADR is also serving this purpose.

Advantages of ADR

  1. It is less formal.
  2. It is less expensive.
  3. It is not time consuming .
  4. Parties can decide on how they want to resolve their disputes.
  5. It preserves the existing relationship of the parties.

Disadvantages of ADR

  1. it does not guarantee resolution of the dispute.
  2. It is not all disputes that can be resolved by ADR.
  3. Facts may not be fully disclosed.

Types of ADR

1. Negotiation: This closely resembles mediation. However, it may not involve a third party. Commonly, the parties resolve the disputes themselves by reaching a common ground. The parties identify their differences and agree on a way to resolve them.

2. Mediation: This is where a third party known as the mediator act as a facilitator in resolving the dispute. The mediator does not judge the parties, he just helps to facilitate and guide the parties in cutting down their responsibilities.

3. conciliation: This is an informal process where a neutral third party helps the parties to reach an agreement. In this type, the conciliator helps the parties isolate the issues and develop options to accommodate the need of the parties.

4.Arbitration: This is a process of resolution of dispute where the parties appoint one person or more. It is usually by an agreement between the parties for example in a contractual agreement, the parties can put an Arbitration clause to the effect that in case any dispute arises  the parties shall subject the matter to Arbitration. Arbitration may be ad-hoc, contractual, institutional, or statutory.

When a party wants to explore the option of ADR for Dispute Resolution, it is better for such party to employ the service of a lawyer. The lawyer will  be able to negotiate the party’s interest sufficiently bearing in mind the consequence of such resolution. After any of the ADR is explored for Dispute Resolution, the lawyers will prepare a term of settlement which will contain all the terms the parties agreed to and it will be presented before the court.

The court will pass the terms as consent judgment which can only be set aside on allegation of fraud or duress. The service of a lawyer is best engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution to avoid any complication of matters in the long run.

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October 8, 2021 in Consumer Protection Law, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property Law, Property Law


A patent is a government license that confers an exclusive legal right or title for a specified period. It gives the sole right to exclude others from using, making or selling an invention in the country it is obtained without permission or consent during the lifespan of the patent. A patent protects an invention that provides a new and inventive technical solution to a problem.


  1. The Patents and Designs Act (The Act): This is the substantive legislation on patents and designs IN Nigeria, it regulates the registration of patents in Nigeria.
  2. 1971 Patents Rules: This is the principal procedural guideline for the Patents Registry on the registration of patents.


The right to patent an invention is vested in the “statutory inventor”. Section 2 of the Patent and Designs Act defines a statutory inventor as a person who whether he is the true inventor is the first to file a patent application or validly claim a foreign priority for a work. Also, where multiple persons are involved in the composition of an invention, they may apply jointly for a patent right of that invention.


A person who merely aided in doing work linked with the development of an invention without contributing any inventive activity is not an inventor and therefore without right to patent. Also, an invention made in the course of employment or in course of the execution of a contract for the performance of designated work is not a statutory inventor, the right to a patent here is vested in the employer or the person who commissioned the work, the employee inventor will only be entitled to wages as compensation.


Patentable inventions are inventions that are new, or inventions that constitute an improvement upon a patented invention that is new or inventions that result from an inventive activity that is capable of industrial application. An invention is capable of industrial application if it can be manufactured or used in any kind of industry, including agriculture. 


  1. Plant varieties, animal species and essentially biological processes for the breeding plants or animals, other than microbiological processes and products.
  2. Inventions to public order or morality.

In addition, although, Nigeria is not a member of the African Intellectual property organization, it shares similar unpatentable inventions with AIPO as follows:

  • Computer programs
  • Schemes, rules, and methods for doing business etc.
  • Literary, architectural, and artistic works, aesthetic creations,
  • Discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods,

Therefore, an invention is patentable if it is novel, capable of industrial application, and is not against public policy and morality.



A patent application in must have the following attributes:

  1. It must be new.
  2. It must have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject.
  3. It must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry and not be, a scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or method, a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, a way of performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, the presentation of information, or some computer programs, an animal or plant variety, a method of medical treatment or diagnosis.
  4. It must not be against public policy or morality.

The registrar of Patent and Design is charged with the duty of examining patent applications  to determine suitability or otherwise of individual application.


Timeline for registration of an invention ranges between 6 weeks to 7 weeks. The procedure for patent registration at the Design & Patent registry is as follows:

  1. Availability search: To ensure the invention is not already patented. If the result of the search is positive, then the application is made.
  2. An application to register a patent is made to the Registrar of Patents and Designs and shall contain the following:[3]
  1. The applicant’s full name and address, and address for service within Nigeria
  2. A description of the relevant invention with any appropriate plans and drawings
  3. A claim or claims (for any number of products, processes, or applications),
  4. A declaration by the true inventor of the product supplying his name and address and a requesting that he be mentioned named as such in the Patent
  5. Evidence of payment of prescribed fees as determined by the Registry.
  6. Where the application is submitted by an agent, a power of attorney authorizing the agent is to accompany the application.

By section 7 of the Act every patent shall expire at the end of the twentieth year from the date of the filling of the relevant application. A patent shall also lapse if the prescribed annual fees are not paid provided a grace period of 6 months is given for the fees to be paid. Also, only accredited persons or companies can register patents on behalf of inventors in Nigeria. The grant of patents is vested in the  Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, where all applications are made to the Registrar of Designs & Patents.


  1. A patent holder holds the right to stop others from using her/his registered invention.
  2. A patent holder holds the right to permit, grant a license to use or sell such invention. This provides a source of revenue for business i.e., commercialization of the invention.
  3. A patent holder holds the right to bring a legal action against person(s) who infringe on the registered invention, also make claim for damages, injunctive relief etc. this gives room for the creation of value.


Foreign priority comes into play when an application for the registration of a patented invention in another country is now made in Nigeria.

The application is treated as having been made on the same date on which the foreign application was made, provided the Nigerian application is made within 12 months of the making of the earlier application in the foreign convention country. Foreign priority in Nigeria is only accorded to convention countries.


The Act does not also grant patents in respect of certain area of inventions, including inventions in relation to plants, animal varieties, biological processes to produce plants or animals, except microbiological processes and their product. These exempted areas have more or less caused setbacks in the medical and agricultural advancement of the economy. These exemptions are registrable in Kenya, United States, South Africa etc.


A patent license cannot be obtained for ideas and dreams. A patent holder that desires to protect his invention in countries which are not signatories to the conventions or treaties Nigeria is a part of need to make such application in the country. A patent holder may opt to register his patent with the World International Property Organization (WIPO) which currently has over 189 member states including Nigeria.






[1] Sections 1 & 2 of Patent & Designs Act
[2] Section 1 (4) of Patent & Designs Act
[3] Sections 3, 4, and 5 of Patent and Designs Act

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May 9, 2021 in Corporate Law


Prior to 2005, incorporating a company required strict adherence to the provisions of section 35 Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA)1990, the provision mandated physical visitation to the Corporate Affairs Commission for filling incorporation documents. This caused avoidable hardships and discouraged people who had the intention to register and incorporate a company which was not good for the business climate in Nigeria so much so it affected Nigeria’s ranking in the ease of doing business of the World Bank.  


The adversity of company registrations in Nigeria continued until the introduction of the online registration system aimed at achieving transactional efficiency, registration, and incorporation of a company by both lawyers and non-lawyers and reduction of the need to physically visit CAC office for corporate transactions, thereby enabling the registration of a company from the comfort of one’s home; The novel introduction eased the former hectic process of company registration.  The online system was designed in such a way that the manual-based registration process was replaced with an online interactive forum. The business structures offered by the Companies and Allied matters include Sole Proprietorship, Incorporated Trustee, Partnership and A Company. A Company is either private or public limited by shares, guarantee or an unlimited company. A company limited by guarantee is the only company without share capital although just like other companies it is allowed to carry on business. Incorporated trustee and a Company limited by guarantee are incorporated for charitable causes.  


The Companies and allied matters Act (CAMA), 1990 was repealed and re-enacted by the National House of Assembly with CAMA 2018 after 30 years of application, the new CAMA, was signed and assented into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 7th of August 2020, which is the day it was considered to have come into force in Nigeria. The new CAMA integrated provisions for ease of doing business in Nigeria. Some of the benefit of the new CAMA as showed by the Nigerian Senate includes: 

  1. Making Nigeria’s business environment as competitive as other countries around the world. 
  2. Empowering a one-person ability to open and run a company.  
  3. Promoting the use of technology in the registration of businesses so that Companies can be registered in Nigeria from anywhere in the world using the e-registration system. 
  4. Ending all pointless regulatory provisions for small companies 
  5.  Creating a new category of legal identity for Nigerian businesses. 



With the new CAMA, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) upgraded its website (online registration portal) to include automated new pre company incorporations features and post company incorporation features. The novel introductions are in line with the Federal Government’s mandate of improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria. The automated features include: 


  1. E-search of Company Records: This enables individuals or businesses to visit the CAC portal to find out the position of a registered business. All that is needed is the name of the Company.  
  2. Automation of Pre and Post Company Incorporation Fillings: 
  1. Pre-incorporation filing: This enables all applications for company incorporations to be made by individuals or professionals via Upon approval by the CAC electronic certificate of incorporation (E-Certificate) are issued and downloaded via the portal. 
  2. Post incorporation filing: All post company incorporations for changes to registered business can be made via including change of name, addition or reduction or change of shareholders or directors, change of business address, change of business structure, filing of annual returns etc. 

These novel features are excellent and support swift applications to the CAC. However, the online portal faces technical challenges that occasion delays. There is therefore the need for the CAC to properly support the Portal. 


The novel provisions and sections of the New CAMA aim to have an excellent business environment for businesses thrive without hindrances. In 2020, Nigeria ranked 131 on the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Index. According to the Index, showing Nigeria moved up 15 places from its 2019 position. Based on the ranking, the World Bank ease of doing business concluded that the country is one of the most improved economies in the world for running a business. The improvement, according to the agency, happened because of reforms carried out by the Federal Government. The new Companies and Allied Matters Act is an improvement of the repealed CAMA, 1990. The Act promises to meet up with the current realities of doing business in the 21st century. However, there is need for the CAC to properly maintain and manage the online portal for avoidance delay in filings occasioned by technical and of course the Act it is not without need for more review and reforms.  



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May 9, 2021 in Corporate Law

    1. A Holding Company is a Company that holds more than 50% shares in a Subsidiary Company, or a Company that controls the composition of a Subsidiary Company Board of Directors. (Board of a company is said to be controlled if without consent the Holding Company  can remove/appoint majority or all of its directors )
    2. A Holding and a Subsidiary Company are separate and distinct legal entities. 
    3. The term ‘Holding Company’ is used because the business “holds” other investments (the subsidiaries).
    4. A Holding Company Oversees and manages the overall activities of the Subsidiary Companies. In essence a Holding Company manages the affairs and exercise control of its Subsidiaries.
    5. A Holding Company appoints the management that oversees the day to day activities of its Subsidiary Companies. 
    6. In most cases, a Holding Company does not have activities, operations, or other active businesses other than owning assets in its Subsidiary Companies. 
    7. The law does not expressly stop a Holding Company from conducting business. 
    8. A Holding Company can either own all the stocks of its subsidiary companies (wholly owned subsidiary), or majority of the stocks. 
    9. There is no limit to the number of Subsidiaries that a Holding Company can have. New and existing Companies can apply to become a Holding company. An example of Holding of Company is First Bank Holding Nigeria Plc, with the following subsidiaries: FBN Bank Guinea, FBN Merchant Bank, FBN Bank (UK) Ltd, FBN Bank Ghana. 
    10. A Holding Company accord investors the room to make a wide range of investments. 

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May 5, 2021 in Intellectual Property Law

A Trademark is a sign, a symbol, a design, or any expression which identifies and differentiates a person’s or an organisation’s product or services from that of others.  

Company logo, Business Names, Product Names, Logos, and labels used in commerce (to conduct business) are trademarks and should be secured against imposters, unfair competitors, and counterfeiters. 

Whether you are Start-up business or an old business the need to register your trademark cannot be over emphasized; A registered trademark will entitle you to institute any proceedings to prevent, or to recover damages for the infringement of your registered trademark; So when you wilfully decide not to register your trademark be rest assured you have succeeded in waiving your right, this however, is without prejudice to your rights of action against any person passing off his/her goods as yours. 

If you plan to expand your business and reach out to new markets, it would be wise to register your trademark, so that no confusion arises if another company or business name use the same or a similar name as yours. So yes, you should totally register your trademark 


  • A company’s logo, firm’s or an individual’s name represented in a special manner. 
  • Trademarks not similar or nearly resembling an already existing trademark 
  • Invented Word 
  • Any Distinctive Mark, word, design, label, device, Signature, numerals, or combination thereof.  


  1. Trademarks that may cause ‘likelihood of confusion: This simply means that identical marks on similar goods and similar marks on identical/similar goods. The Test is to see whether consumers will confuse an already registered trademark for the one sought to be registered in the absence of the already registered Trademark, that is a whether a consumer can distinguish the similar trademarks. 
  1. Trademarks that lack distinctive character:  The essence of a trademark is to identify the consistent source of the goods or services to the consumer therefore for a trademark to be registered it must be distinctive to the consumers. Trademarks are either inherently distinctive or through long usage by the owner. 
  1. Generic Names: Generic names are names used commonly by people to name an entire category or class of products. The rationale for creating the category of generic marks is that no manufacturer or service provider is given exclusive right to use words that generically identify a product.  

Businesses need trademarks to individualize their products and reach out to consumers and communicate its source while advertising and selling the goods. 



Get an accredited agents or Law firms and provide the following information 

  1. Power of attorney authorizing the accredited agent to register on your behalf 
  1. Name and Address of the Trademark Owner 
  1. The product’s Class 
  1. Name and specimen of the Trademark 

A summary of the process is thus: 

  1. Availability search: This is a search conducted at the registry for the availability of the trade mark you want to register. If the search is positive then an application for the registration of the trademark can be made. 
  1. Issuance of acknowledgment and Acceptance Forms.  
  1. Publication in the Trademarks Journal: if after two months of publication there is no opposition by any person as to the registrability of your trademark then Application for certificate can be made 
  1. Issuance of Certificate: the certificate is valid for 7 years, to be subsequently renewed.  

Only accredited agents or organisations of the trademarks patent and design registry, commercial law Department of the Ministry of trade industry and investment can register trademarks. To get accredited visit 


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10 Interesting Facts about Trademarks

May 5, 2021 in Intellectual Property Law

  1. The protection of registered Trademarks in Nigeria was guaranteed in 1967.
  2. A Trademark is a visual and distinct identification of goods or services offered by the owner of a business.
  3. A well-designed trademark tells the world what a company does, what it stands for and what it offers in terms of goods and/or services. 
  4. A Trademark need not be words; it can either be a symbol, shape, sign, design, or an expression that identifies products or services of a particular source from that of others. 
  5. Service marks are just like trademarks. They are used to identify a service rather than a product. Before 2007, Trademarks were registered solely as goods. Trademarks covering services could only be registered in class 16 – which includes paper, goods made from that material, office requisites and related materials.
  6. The COCACOLA trademark was invented by the inventors Bookkeeper. While the inventor, Pemberton was experimenting with a medicinal formula which included coca leaves and kola nuts as sources of its ingredients. Frank Robinson, his bookkeeper, and partner to Pemberton, gave the syrup formula the name Coca-Cola, ‘Coca’ from the coca leaves used and ‘Cola’ for the kola nuts
  7. Nigeria is a party to the Madrid Agreement on International Registration of Trademarks and the Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services (There are 45 classes of Trademarks in Nigeria. All Trademarks are registered in Classes, depending on the product or service type)
  8. The laws governing trademark administration and the enforcement of it accruing rights in Nigeria are contained in the Trade Marks Act (TMA) 1965, and Trade Marks Regulations of 1967 
  9. Trademarks that are deceptive immoral scandalous or trademarks likely to cause confusion cannot be registered. 
  10. On the ownership of Trademarks, Nigeria uses a “first to file” system. This means that the first person to register a trademark is the one with the right to prevent others from using identical or confusingly similar Trademarks.