Steps For Registering & Renewing Trademarks In Nigeria

A registered trademark is a recognizable name or design that is used to identify and set one product or service apart from another.
Nigeria Intellectual Property
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A registered trademark is a recognizable name or design that is used to identify and set one product or service apart from another. Trademarks that are eligible for registration include names, slogans, and shapes.

Trademark is registered through the Intellectual Property Office, Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment in Nigeria. A trademark is primarily used to protect a company's brand and avoid confusion and distortion in the marketplace. This differentiation can be important for increasing consumer loyalty and brand identification. The primary laws that govern Trademarks in Nigeria are the Trade Marks Act, Cap T13 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and The Trademarks Regulation 1967.

Requirements for Registering a Trademark in Nigeria

Every prospective applicant for a trademark should prepare or supply the following requirements for registration:

  • Logo, which could be a word or a device.
  • The applicant's name.
  • The applicant's contact information.
  • Power of Attorney designating an agent to carry out this type of registration.

Classification of Trademarks

An international system, the NICE classification, categorises products and services to be registered for trademarks. It was created by the Nice Agreement in 1957 and maintained by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). There are 45 classes in the NICE classification; classes 1-34 deal with goods, and classes 35-45 deal with services. Trademarks are registered for distinct classes based on the goods or services they are intended to be used for. Each class represents a particular category of goods or services. Nigeria is among the numerous nations that classify and register trademarks for particular goods and services using the NICE classification system. It offers a uniform framework for the registration of trademarks and promotes uniformity and clarity in the registration process.

Steps to Register a Trademark

  • Search for similarities: It is crucial to carry out a search to make sure the intended trademark is registrable and does not violate any already-existing trademarks before submitting an application for registration. The Nigerian Trademarks Registry's archives can be manually searched for this purpose. Anyone wishing to register a trademark must first provide the trademark to a trademark agent for search.
  • Filing of an application: After the trademark has been searched, an application for registration can be filed if it does not clash with or appear too similar to any already registered trademarks. Upon filing online, the applicant will be able to download the final acknowledgement online. It is important to mention that the filing fee must be paid for the application.
  • Examination of application: The Trademarks Registry will review the application following filing to make sure it conforms with all applicable rules and laws. The Registry has the right to object or request more information if there are any problems.
  • Acceptance of application: The Registry will accept, register, and provide an Acceptance Letter to the applicant when an application has been accepted after examination. Acceptance is a temporary form of registration that can still be set aside if the application is successfully opposed by a third party after publication.
  • Publication: The application will be published in the Trademarks Journal after acceptance. This allows interested parties to object to the registration if they think the trademark violates their already registered marks or if the trademark is considered immoral. Where there is an objection, opposition proceedings will take place.
  • Certification: The filed trademark will be granted a Certificate of Registration if there is no opposition to its publication in the journal or if the opposition has been filed and successfully resolved in the applicant's favour. The Certificate serves as proof of timely registration and successful completion of all procedures. It grants the owner or proprietor the exclusive right to use the trademark, disallowing use by any other party. However, the Registrar will provide the applicant with a letter of denial if another person or organisation successfully challenges the application to oppose a trademark registration.

Opposition Proceedings

Opposition proceeding occurs when the notice of application for the trademark has been published, and an objection or opposition has been filed against an application for the trademark. Once the Registrar has published an application for a trademark in the Trademark Journal, any interested party would have the chance to object to or oppose the registration within two months of publication. By submitting a notice of opposition in the required format, any individual or group can request that the Registrar halt the registration of a trademark that they believe has the potential to confuse or mislead the public due to an already registered trademark.

Within two months of the notice being published in a journal, oppositions, along with the reasons for the oppositions, must be sent to the Registrar of Trademarks. Any objection or opposition received shall be sent to the applicant by the Registrar. After receiving the notice from the Registrar, the applicant has one month to reply to the opposition. An applicant may be said to have abandoned their application if they do not provide a counter-statement in response to the resistance they have received. If the applicant provides a response outlining their claim to the trademark, the Registrar will set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute between the parties. The tribunal may decide that the trademark be de-registered or that the certificate should be issued to the applicant. However, the decision of the Tribunal is subject to appeal. The losing party may decide to appeal the decision of the tribunal to the Federal High Court.

Regional and International Trademark

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) is a regional trademark body that registers and protects brand names and trademarks in over 20 countries in Africa. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) allows businesses to register their trademarks in more than 120 member countries across the globe using the Madrid System. These bodies promote a cost-effective system of trademark registration and management. Despite the advantages of these systems of international trademark registration, Nigeria has not yet participated in any of them. For any foreigner to register a trademark in Nigeria, the applicant must hire an accredited trademark agent in Nigeria for the registration.

Renewal of Trademark

Generally, it takes between 12 to 24 months for a trademark registration to be completed, depending on other factors such as publication in a journal and opposition or number of objections filed. Once an application for a trademark has been filed, the expiration date will begin to count. A registered trademark has a seven-year expiration period and may be renewed periodically afterwards. Each additional renewal is valid for 14 years. To renew a trademark, a Trademark Certificate and a Power of Attorney designating the agent are required in addition to the prescribed fees.


The registration of a trademark in Nigeria has various advantages. One such advantage is the defence of one's identity and brand against infringement. It is recommended that individuals or companies in need of trademark registration in Nigeria should consult a certified agent who can guide them on the procedure and the requirements.

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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