Nigeria: Intellectual Property

Last Updated: 11 December 2018
Article by Banwo & Ighodalo

It is advisable that all trademarks, patents and or designs to be used by the company be registered in Nigeria at the Trade Marks, Patents and Designs Registry in Abuja, to preserve the owner's proprietary interest therein.

A. REGISTRATION OF TRADE MARKS

An application for the registration of a trade mark is made to the Registrar of Trade Marks together with the following documents:

  1. A signed power of attorney (if the application is made by an agent);
  2. A clear representation of the mark from which bromide prints will be made; and
  3. Name, description, address and nature of business of the proprietor of the trade mark.

Where upon examination, the trade mark is not in conflict with any registered trademark or a prior pending application, an acceptance notification is issued (usually within one (1) to three (3) weeks of the filing of the application). The mark is then forwarded for publication in the Trade Marks Journal. If there is no objection raised to the registration of the mark within a period of two (2) months from the date of its advertisement in the journal, a Certificate of Registration is issued by the Registrar of Trade Marks. An official fee is also payable for the registration of a trademark.

Registration subsists for an initial period of seven (7) years and is renewable thereafter for consecutive fourteen (14) year terms.

B. REGISTRATION OF PATENTS

An application for the registration of a patent is made to the Registrar of Patents and Designs supported by the following:

  1. signed power of attorney (if application is made by an agent);
  2. a description of the patent (sufficiently clear to enable a skilled person put the invention into effect, with relevant plans and drawings);
  3. a claim or claims;
  4. information on prior foreign application (if any); and
  5. where the true inventor of the patent is not the applicant but wishes to be named as such, a declaration signed by him requesting to be so named.

In Nigeria, the patent registration process is depository, that is, the patent is not examined on compliance with the requirements for patentability as prescribed by the relevant law. Consequently, patents are granted at the patentee's risk. After the patent is granted, the Registrar publishes notification of such grant, including a description of the patent in the government gazette. An official fee is also payable for the registration of a patent and the entire registration process generally takes a period of between two (2) to four (4) months.

C. REGISTRATION OF DESIGNS

An application for the registration of a design is made to the Registrar of Patents and Designs supported by the following:

  1. Power of Attorney simply signed by an authorized representative of the applicant;
  2. The name address, nationality, description, profession or nature of business of the applicant;
  3. 3 copies of identical representations or specimens of the design or a photographic representation of the design;
  4. Statement of Novelty;
  5. Drawings (if any);
  6. Certified true copies of priority documents (required only where the applicant is claiming priority of a foreign registration application. Please note that for priority applications, the Nigerian application must be filed within 6 months of filing the foreign application on which the claim of priority is based.

Upon registration of a design, the Registrar publishes notification of such grant, including a description of the design in the government gazette. An official fee is also payable for the registration of a design and the entire registration process generally takes a period of between two (2) to four (4) months.

The information contained here is based on relevant Nigerian laws, regulations and practices applicable to doing business in Nigeria, as of November 14 2018. This Manual only highlights legal issues, in general, and is not exhaustive. Also it does not, and it is not intended to, constitute legal advice and or opinion. If you have questions or require advice in respect of matters contained herein or any other specific issues, kindly contact us for such advice and we would be happy to assist you on an individual basis and walk with you on your journey to explore the limitless opportunities for investments in Nigeria.

Banwo & Ighodalo does not accept liability for any action (or lack thereof) by you or anyone else as a result of reliance on, or any other use of, information contained herein. For the avoidance of doubt, under no circumstance shall Banwo & Ighodalo be liable for any consequences resulting from reliance on or use of information contained in this Manual.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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