The Road Map to protecting IP Rights in Nigeria.



Trademarks


A trademark is a word, letter, phrase, logo, label, numeral, colour, sign, signature or any combination of words, letters, labels, signatures that identify and distinguish the sources of goods of one party from those of others in the course of trade.


Legislation.


Trade Marks Act (Cap. T 13), LFN 2004.


Government Agency.

Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Investment.


Treaties.

Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.


Classification of Trademarks.


International Nice classification.


Colour Claims.


If the trademark application is filed without colour, you get protection in all colours but if it is filed with colours, protection is granted as filed.


Priority Claims.


An applicant has 12 months from the date of filing in their home country to claim priority in Nigeria.


Documentation Required.

  1. Clear representation of the trademark

  2. Details of the applicant

  3. Simply signed Power of Attorney (No notarisation or legalisation required)

  4. Indication of the classification of goods or services

  5. Priority documents (If applicable). If not in English, translated and certified by a certified translator

Registration Procedure.


Search

It is recommended that a search is carried out to ascertain if there are any similar marks that are already going through the registration process or have already been registered. It should be noted that the search results are not conclusive and will only serve as a guide.


Application

The trademark is filed in the desired class(es) with the supporting documents.


Examination

The trademark application is examined by the registrar of trademarks to ascertain its distinctiveness. The registrar may absolutely reject the mark, or may refuse it or may express willingness to accept it subject to such conditions, amendments, disclaimer, modifications or limitations as the Registrar may think right to impose.

If the Registrar objects to the registration, same shall be communicated to the applicant. The applicant has 2 months to apply for a hearing or make a considered reply in writing. If the applicant fails to do either, the applicant shall be deemed to have withdrawn the application.


If the Registrar is willing to accept the application subject to any conditions, amendments, disclaimer, modifications or limitations, such willingness shall be communicated to the applicant in writing and if the applicant objects to such conditions, amendments, disclaimer, modifications or limitations, the applicant shall within one month from the date of the communication apply for a hearing or communicate his considered objections in writing, and if the applicant does not do so, the applicant shall be deemed to have withdrawn the application; and if the applicant does not object to such conditions, amendments, disclaimer, modifications or limitations, the applicant shall notify the Registrar in writing and alter the application accordingly.


Publication

The trademark is published in the trademark journal for a 60 day period. If there is no opposition to the registration of the trademark, the trademark certificate will be applied for and issued.


Time - frame of registration

It takes between 24 to 36 months to obtain a trademark certificate from the date of filing. This long period is due to the irregular publication of the trademark journal. However, an Acceptance letter can be obtained within  10 to 20 days of filing. The Acceptance Letter provides a level of protection against fresh registrations in the same class.


Duration of a trademark registration

A trademark registration is valid for an initial 7 years, then renewable every 14 years thereafter.


Assignment of Trademarks.


Registered trademarks may be assigned either in connection with the goodwill of a business or not. A registered trademark can be assigned in respect of either of all the goods or services in respect of which it is registered, or was registered, or of some of

Documentation required for Assignments

  1. Deed of Assignment

  2. Power of Attorney

  3. Statement of Case


Patents.


A Patent is a licence granted to an inventor to exclude others for a limited period of time from using, making, selling an invention.


Legislation.


Patents and Designs Act (Cap. P2), LFN 2004.


Government Agency.


Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Investment.


Treaties.

  • Patent Law Treaty 

  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property

Registrable Inventions.


An invention is Patentable if it new, results from inventive activity and is capable of Industrial application.


Documentation Required.

  1. Full details of the inventor(s)/applicant(s).

  2. Specification, claims, drawings.

  3. For PCT Applications: Copy of the WIPO publication.

  4. Simply signed Power of Attorney (no notarisation or Legalisation required).

Time limit for entering the National Phase for PCT Applications.

30 months.


Registration Procedure.


Once all the required documentation have been filed, an acknowledgment of filing will be issued. The Patent Certificate is thereafter issued without further examination.


Validity of a Patent Registration.


A Patent is valid for 20 years subject to renewals every year. With regards to PCT applications, annuity payment are due and payable from the International filing date.


DESIGNS.


A Design protects the aesthetics features of a product. The Patent and Designs Act states that an Industrial Design is a combination of lines or colours or both, and any three-dimensional form, whether or not associated with colours.


Legislation.


Patents and Designs Act (Cap. P2), LFN 2004.


Government Agency.


Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Investment.


Treaties.


Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.


Registrable Designs.


A Design is registrable if it is novel and is not contrary to public order or morality.


Documentation Required.

  1. Specimen of the Design or a photographic or graphic representation of the Design

  2. Statement of Novelty specifying features of the Design

  3. Applicant's Details

  4. An indication of the kind of product for which the Design will be used

  5. Simply signed Power of Attorney (no notarisation or Legalisation required)

  6. For Priority Claims, the applicant shall append to his application, the date and number of the earlier application, the country in which the earlier application was made, and the name of the person who made the earlier application; and not more than three months after the making of the application, he shall furnish the Registrar with a copy of the earlier application certified correct by the Industrial Property Office (or its equivalent) in the country where the application was made.

Registration Procedure.

  • The application is filed in the prescribed manner;

  • The Registrar issues and Acknowledgment of Filing;

  • The Registrar examines the application as to its conformity with the requirements of the Act. The Registrar may either accept or reject the application;

  • If the application is accepted, the Registrar will issue a Registration Certificate.

Validity of a Design Registration.


A Design registration is valid for 15 years subject to renewals every 5 years.