JURISDICTION IN ACTIONS FOR INFRINGEMENT OF TRADE MARKS AND PASSING-OFF IN NIGERIA
It is ordinarily thought, if not taken for granted, that original jurisdiction over trademarks and passing-off vests in the
Federal High Court, to the exclusion of all other courts in Nigeria. Relevant statutory provisions obviously support the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court on the subject. However, recent decisions from the apex court have not shown any consistency; and the questions are: are the statutory provisions governing this area of the law not clear enough to guide the court? How can these varying decisions of the Supreme Court be harmonized to ensure uniform development
of judicial precedent in the legal system? The paper recommends that jurisdiction in passing-off should vest exclusively in the Federal High Court. Splitting jurisdiction between the Federal and the State High Courts leads to confusion, difficulty, high cost of litigation and multiplicity of actions with the concomitant uncertainty of judicial precedent in the legal system.