The requirements of 'goodwill' and 'quality control' in trademark commercialisation under the Nigerian Trademarks Act: A call for reforms
Olatunji, OA and Adam, KI, The requirements of 'goodwill' and 'quality control' in trademark commercialisation under the Nigerian Trademarks Act: A call for reforms, African Journal of Intellectual Property, 1, (1) pp. 51-66. ISSN 2520-3304 (2016) [Refereed Article]
Since the emergence of the present knowledge-driven economy, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have become a veritable tool for the protection of entrepreneurs’ business ideas, innovations, and creativities against public theft. When properly harnessed, IPRs offer protection against such theft and confer business advantage on entrepreneurs. Trademark (as one of these IPRs) stands out because of its uniqueness and functional flexibility which makes it an easy target for commercialisation through assignment and registered usership (licensing).Proceeding from the viewpoint that the primary purpose of trademark is consumer protection, we examine how the provisions of the Nigerian Trademark Act (Cap T13) on assignment and registered users meet this purpose. We argue that the current position of the law, where: assignment is permitted ‘with or without goodwill’; the degree of control required for registered usership is unstipulated; and registered usership is allowed without trade connection between the registered proprietor and the mark, has a high tendency of causing consumer confusion or deception. Relying on the US position on assignment and licensing, we propose a reformation of the provisions of Cap T13 on "assignment with or without goodwill", "degree of control", and "trade connection", arguing that such reform will balance the interests of both trademark owners and the consuming public.
goodwill, quality control, trade mark commercialization, Nigerian Trade Marks Act, US Lanham Act