The Board of Directors of the International Trademark Association (INTA) has approved the appointment of Mr. Akeem O. Aponmade as Co-Chair of its Africa Global Advisory Council (GAC) for the 2020/2021 term. INTA is a private-sector entity of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property rights (IPR) to foster consumer trust, economic growth and innovation. The body represents over 31,000 trademark professionals in diverse capacities, multi-national corporations, businesses of all sizes, law firms and other professionals, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations from 190 countries. INTA’s members collectively contribute almost US$12 trillion/Euro 8.8 trillion/ Yen 73 trillion to global GDP annually.
In line with INTA’s growing interest in furthering the importance of trademarks and related rights for accelerated economic and sustainable industrialization in Africa, the association has been paying greater interest in Africa and this has culminated in the appointment three years ago of Mr Tat-Tienne Louembe as INTA’s representative for Africa, the Middle East and Intergovernmental Organisations and constitution of a Global Advisory Council for Africa and for other regions. Aponmade is a member of INTA’s Enforcement Committee (2016 to date) and AGAC in the 2019/2020 term. His appointment is a reflection of the Board’s appreciation of his contribution and leadership qualities.
In the new position, he will be responsible with his fellow co-chair Lorna Mbatia a partner at CFL Advocates, a leading IP Law Firm in Kenya, to lead INTA’s increased public sector advocacy awareness and membership efforts in Africa. Aponmade is a world-renowned anti-counterfeiting expert. He is the Principal Council of A.O. Aponmade & Co., a frontline IP law firm in Nigeria. He was the chief executive officer of IFPI Nigeria, the Nigeria branch of the global record industry watchdog based in London, and was at a time in charge of the enforcement department of the Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC). He had also served as the Nigerian spokesperson for Business Software Alliance, the umbrella body for multi-national software developers and their hardware partners, including Microsoft, Adobe, HP, ACER, Apple etc. He served as a consultant to the World Bank on the music and film industries association representing major film studios. He is also a member of the United States IVLP alumni association, having participated in the State Department’s protection of intellectual property programme. Aponmade is a member of the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association and was at a time a co-opted member of the NBA’s National Executive Committee.
Accepting the appointment, Aponmade said: “I am honoured by this appointment. I look forward to working with other Africans within and outside the council as we contribute to the implementation of INTA’s strategic plan, especially as it touches on the peculiar interests of our countries.”