Nigeria: Intellectual Property Protection In Nigeria - 3. Patents

Last Updated: 31 March 1999
PATENTS

3.1 What is a patent?

A patent is the grant by a country to an inventor of a monopoly right to preclude another person from exploiting his invention without his consent for a fixed period. The monopoly is granted in return for the investor making his invention publicly known.

3.2 Applicable law

The Nigeria law of patents is governed by the Patents and Designs Act 1970, which provides that a patent may be granted for an invention that:

(a) is new;

(b) involves an inventive step ("not obvious");

(c) is capable of industrial application ("useful");

(d) is not specifically excluded in the Act (e.g. inventions the publication of which may encourage immoral and offensive behaviour).

3.3 Procedure for registration

Application for the grant of a patent is made to the Registrar of Patents and Designs, Patents Registry.

The application consists of:-

(a) a petition or request for a patent with the applicant's full name and address (Form 1A);

(b) a "specification" including a claim or claims in duplicate (Form 3);

(c) plans and drawings if any in duplicate;

(d) a declaration by the true inventor where applicable;

(e) a signed power of attorney or authorisation of agent if the application is made by an agent (Form 2);

(f) an address for service in Nigeria if the applicant's address is outside Nigeria;

(g) the prescribed fee of =N= 3,000.00; and

(h) any other matter prescribed by the Registrar from time to time.

An application must relate only to one invention but may cover claims for any number of products or processes.

3.4 Convention applications

This is an application claiming priority on the basis of an earlier application to register the patent made in a foreign convention country. By virtue of the Patents and Designs Convention Countries Order 1971, provided the Nigerian application is made within 12 months of the making of the earlier application in the foreign convention country, such application will be treated as having been made on the same date on which the corresponding foreign application was made. An applicant seeking foreign priority should append to his application a written declaration (Form 1B) showing;

(a) the date and number of the earlier application;

(b) the country in which such application was made and;

(c) the name of the person who made it.

Furthermore, not more than 3 months after filing the application, the applicant must furnish the Registrar with a copy of the earlier application certified correct by the appropriate intellectual property authority of the foreign convention country.

3.5 Examination of application

The patent application is examined by the Registrar merely to ascertain formal compliance. Once the application satisfies the statutory requirements as to forms and fees and relates to only one invention, the Registrar is likely to grant the patent without enquiry as to its novelty, inventiveness and industrial application, or whether the specification sufficiently discloses the invention. Accordingly patents are granted at the risk of the patentee and without guarantee of their validity.

3.6 Grant and publication

The grant of a patent is made by the issue of a patent certificate (Form 4) to which is annexed a copy of the specification, drawings and plans. Thereafter, the Registrar enters particulars of the grant in the Register and causes a notice of the grant to be published in the Federal Gazette.

3.7 Duration, renewal and lapse

Patents remain in force for a period of 20 years from the date of filing the application. During the 20 years duration of the patent, it should be renewed annually by lodging the relevant application (Form 5) and the prescribed fee not later than the due date at the Registry. Failure to do this will result in the patent lapsing. If application for renewal is not made at the appropriate time a grace period of 6 months is allowed within which an application for extension of time to renew may be filed (Form 6) accompanied by the extension fee and the prescribed surcharge.

3.8 Exploitation

A patent may be exploited by its owner "working" the patent himself or by licensing third parties to do so.

The owner may grant contractual licenses to third parties to exploit his patent, with or without know-how, on an exclusive, sole or non-exclusive basis or may assign the patent rights to a third party. In certain circumstances, the owner of the patent is required to grant compulsory licenses to third parties.

The Registrar will on the application of the patentee register the words "licenses of right" in respect of his patent. The effect of this is twofold. First, any person has the right to obtain a license to exploit the patent on such terms as failing agreement between him and the patentee will be fixed by the court and secondly the annual renewal fees payable in respect of the patent is thereafter reduced by half.

All licenses, assignments and other transactions involving patents should be recorded at the Patents Registry.

3.9 Enforcement

Patent are enforced by the patentee or his assignee taking proceedings in the Federal High Court and claiming damages, costs and injunctive relief in respect of infringing acts. A licensee cannot sue in the first instance but must first of all by registered letter, request the licensor (i.e patentee) to sue to remedy the signified infringement. If the licensor unreasonably refuses or neglects to institute proceedings, the licensee may do so in his own name without prejudice to the right of the licensor to intervene in the proceedings.

In enforcing a patent it should be borne in mind that the fact that a patent has been granted does not mean it is valid - only a court can determine that question and patents are often found to be invalid on various statutory grounds, for example, where the invention disclosed in the patent is not new, or is obvious or where the disclosure of the invention is incomplete. Such patents are revoked following litigation.

HOW AKINJIDE & CO. CAN ASSIST YOU

Akinjide & Co. is a leading corporate law practice based in Lagos, Nigeria, with branch offices in Ikeja and Ibadan.

This guide on intellectual property in Nigeria has been produced by the intellectual property group of Akinjide & Co. and is intended to provide general guidance and information only. It is not a major work of reference and specific questions and enquiries should be referred to:

Stephen Kola - Balogun
Akinjide & Co.
10th Floor, Western House
8/10 Broad Street,
Lagos - Nigeria.
Tel:  234   1 263 5315
Fax: 234   1 264 5525.
E-mail:  Click Contact Link 

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.