05 Jun Registration Of Trademark In Nigeria
A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit.
Registration of trademark in Nigeria is processed at the Trademark, Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Abuja.
Registration of trademark is the basic concept of trademark protection. It is a pre-condition for the institution of infringement action under the Trademarks Act. Taking into consideration that registration is not mandatory; it still establishes ones right in a mark as there can be no infringement of an unregistered mark.
A trademark is registered in the different classes applicable to it. Nigeria presently follows the International Classification of Goods and Services (NICE Classification)
REQUIREMENTS FOR FILING OF TRADEMARK
Some of the requirement for filing a trademark application would include the following:
- Applicant’s details: Full names, nationality & Physical Address
- The proposed name
- Letter of Authorization of Attorney/agent to act on an applicant’s behalf.
- Trademark Application Letter and Form to be prepared by the applicant’s solicitor/agent
- 3 Copies of the trademark logo/specimen in bromide (The Logo is reproduced on paper or on some cloth. The logo graphic should be distinguishable, distinct, and must not bear any resemblance to logos of companies in a similar field).
PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION OF TRADE MARKS
The practice is for an applicant to instruct a local attorney/agent to file and process the trademark application at the Trademarks registry. A Power of Attorney/Authorization of Agent Form can be completed in the attorney/agent’s favour authorizing such attorney/agent to act on the applicant’s behalf. Thereafter, the attorney/agent would fill and submit all appropriate documents.
After filing the application for trade mark registration, the Registrar would issue an official acknowledgement letter reflecting the official number and filing date of the application.
A preliminary search would then be conducted at the registry as to the distinctiveness of the application from existing and pending registrations. The Registrar would further examine the application for registrability taking into consideration possible conflicts with prior registered or pending marks and or inherent registrability of the mark. If the Registrar finds the trademark acceptable for registration, a letter/notice of acceptance is issued to the attorney/agent processing the application behalf of the applicant.
Every trade mark application must be advertised in the Nigerian Trademark Journal and is open to opposition for a period of two (2) months from the date of advertisement. If no objections are received within the specified period or no objections are sustained, the Registrar will issue a certificate of registration. When issued, the Registration Certificate will reflect the date of initial filing as date of registration (i.e. date of filing acknowledgement).
Once a trademark has been accepted for registration by the Letter of Acceptance it would be given a temporary number. This means that some measure of protection is available to the trademark against a later application for the registration of identical or similar trademarks in relation to the same goods/services or classes of goods.
Nigerian trade mark registrations have an initial validity of seven (7) years and are thereafter indefinitely renewable for periods of fourteen (14) years. An application for renewal should be made not less than three (3) months from the due date.
WHEN IS REGISTRATION ADVISABLE
It is important when doing business in Nigeria to ensure that one’s business is adequately protected through intellectual property. As a company gains brand recognition, customers will associate the Company’s logo/brand to the Company. Registration of a Company’s trademark discourages others from using similar marks without the company’s license.
Registration of Trademark also hinders the efforts of unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, to use similar distinctive signs to market inferior or different products or services.
Businesses and inventors are therefore advised in their best interests to register their trademarks/tradename as soon as business commences.
*We are accredited Intellectual Property agents with the Trademarks, Patents & Designs Registry.