The trademark search is actually the first step for trademark registration in Nigeria. Basically, there are actually 3 main steps involved in registering a trademark in Nigeria, which are Search, Filing and Publication. Each of these steps is critical and important towards a successful registration of a trademark.

The search process will determine whether the proposed trademark is not infringing on any existing trademark and as such, it can be presented for filing since it is not in conflict with any previously registered trademark.

Importance of Trademark Search

Conducting a trademark search in Nigeria commences the registration process. The essence of the search is usually to determine whether the proposed trademark is not in conflict with any existing trademark registered in a particular class before it is presented for filing.

Among the criteria for registration of trademark in Nigeria is actually that such mark must not be similar or identical to an existing trademark. As a result of this, it is very important to conduct a search before filing for registration.

Process of Trademark Search

Among the main ways to hold out a trademark search is usually to go through the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry's online portal. It is only the trademark accredited attorneys or agents that may conduct a search at the Nigerian trademark platform.

Although accredited agents pay for the search to be carried out online, conventionally, the search may still be done physically or manually at the trademark office apart from online search for a greater accuracy.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the trademarks are actually registered in classes, and consequently, the trademark search has to be conducted in a specific class the owner or perhaps applicant is actually seeking to register its mark. And where the applicant does not know the specific class of its mark, the kind of business activities or perhaps services the trademark is actually required for must be provided for the trademark agent to figure out the proper class.

Registration at Online Portal

The next step after conducting search has is the filing of a trademark, and if successful shall lead to the issuance of an Acceptance Letter.

The trademark is usually filed online via the online portal of the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry. This filing can only be done by accredited trademark agents who are mainly trademark lawyers. Nevertheless, a person seeking to register a trademark in Nigeria may not necessarily have to visit the accredited agents in person, since the requirements for registration does not include any physical or real materials. All the requirements for registration can be sent to the accredited agents via online.

List of Requirements for Registering Trademark in Nigeria

  • Trademark word(s) and/or logo
  • Name of the Applicant
  • Address of the Applicant
  • Phone Number & Email Address of the Applicant
  • Foreign Applicant may include a Power of Attorney authorizing the Agent

It is worth of note to state that where a trademark search is actually successful and subsequently filed, the registrar may still decline to register such a trademark in some circumstances. Such situations may include where the filed trademark has been found to be generally descriptive, immoral or imitate the flag, emblem or name of country or any international institution.

The third step, which is the publication process determines whether there is any interested party who might want to challenge the registration of the trademark on the ground that such a mark is actually or likely going to infringe on his or its own existing trademark. Such a third party may file an opposition to the published trademark. If no opposition is actually filed or an opposition was filed and successfully dealt with by the applicant, a trademark certificate shall be issued to the successful applicant.

To conclude, trademark search is actually important before filing for the registration since it ensures that the proposed trademark is not in conflict with any existing trademarks. Where any trademark is filed and turns out to be in conflict with any existing mark, the trademark examiner or registrar shall be entitled to refuse the registration for such a trademark.

The issued trademark certificate in Nigeria lasts for 7 years at first instance. The subsequent renewals are valid for 14 years. The entire value chain of trademark registration in Nigeria can be completed online through any accredited trademark attorney.

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.