Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish. Intellectual property protection is typically territorial and owns and use have to be registered before protection is granted. The government agency in Nigeria that is in charge of the registration of trademarks is the Trademarks, Patents And Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department, Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Investment.
Trademark Registration in Nigeria
Trademarks in Nigeria are categorized in accordance with the International Classification of Goods and Services as provided for under the NICE protocol. Registration is straightforward and can easily be done online through the trademark registry portal. However, it is important to note that trademark registration in the country must be carried out by an accredited agent on behalf of the proprietor.
Procedure for registering a Trademark in Nigeria
- Trademark Search in Nigeria
This is a preliminary search conducted to ensure a trademark is registrable in Nigeria. This search is not mandatory but will help an applicant know their chance of success upon application and if their desired trademark already exists in the market.
- Application for registration of Trademark
After carrying out a trademark search, an application is officially submitted to the Registrar by the accredited agent. This agent will fill out the statutory form with the details of the proprietor of the mark and a representation of the mark.
After the application and fees are submitted by the agent, the TM Registry will issue an Acknowledgement Letter, which consists of the application number and filing date.
There will be a substantive examination to ascertain the distinctiveness of the mark. The registrar will then issue an Acceptance Form.
The trademark is then advertised in the Trademarks Journal to allow any interested parties raise objections. This process will be carried out for a period 60 days.
Once the registrar is satisfied with the outcome of the examination, and no objections have been raised after 60 days following publication in the journal, the trademark should be certified as registered and a certificate will be issued by the Registry.
How much does it cost to register a trademark in Nigeria?
The cost of registering a trademark will vary based on the fees of accredited agents. Sidebrief’s Shield product offer’s Trademark registration from Trademark Search to Certification for a total of N200,000 or $300.
Significance of trademark registration in Nigeria
Registration of a trademark is direct evidence of exclusive ownership in Nigeria and helps keep off potential infringers who would attempt to ride on the goodwill of your mark. It enables you to protect your rights more easily from infringement by third parties, while also enabling you to recover in such event. Trademark registration gives you the power to permit use by others.
How long does it take to get a trademark in Nigeria?
It takes about 14 business days to get the trademark accepted by the Trademark registry. However, the complete registration as evidenced by a certificate typically takes a longer period this is because of the mandatory publication in Nigeria’s trademark journal for a period of 60days.
Can I register trademark by myself?
Unfortunately, individuals and entities or proprietors of marks are unable to register their marks themselves on the trademark portal. An accredited agent of the Intellectual property office is required to register a mark and only these agents can register trademarks in Nigeria.
Intellectually Property Rights in Nigeria
Intellectual Property is a general term used to refer to intangible assets an entity or individual possesses and can shield from external use without the owners’ consent. This simply means the owner of such property has exclusive rights over who is permitted to use their inventions, creations or methods. Use is usually allowed after a payment of royalties or special fees as agreed between parties involved. Trademark is a form of Intellectual property however, there are a few others.
Patents are exclusive rights for things such as a physical invention, an improvement to an existing design, a new design entirely or even a novel process. Patents give the holders undisputable rights to how the invention is used and by whom. A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. It gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission. Your invention must be new, have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject.
How long does it take to register patents in Nigeria?
It takes an estimate of 2 months to register Patents in Nigeria.
An Industrial Design is the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape of an article, or two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or colour. Industrial Designs make an article attractive and appealing, thereby adding to its commercial value and increasing its marketability. To be protected in Nigeria, an Industrial Design must appeal to the eye. This means that an Industrial Design is primarily of an aesthetic nature, and does not protect any technical features of the article to which it is applied. This design adds to the commercial value of the article and makes it more marketable.
What can be registered as industrial design in Nigeria?
Industrial Designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry and handicrafts technical and medical instruments, watches, jewelry, house-ware, electrical appliances, vehicles, architectural structures, textile designs, leisure goods and other luxury items.
Copyright protects the rights of a creator of literary or artistic works. This will generally include books, paintings & drawings, and other pieces of literature/art. Copyright is an exclusive right of the authors, owners or creators of original work. Works that meet the criteria of originality and fixation (expression through a definite medium), will automatically enjoy copyright protection without registration. Although copyright in a work exists automatically when an original work is created, Nigerian Copyright e-Registration System (NCeRS) registration of the work under the NCeRS is evidence that your creation is protected by copyright; and facilitates recording and proof of the possible date of creation of the work and other facts stated in the application form. A copy of the work and facts relating to the creation and ownership of the work, disclosed in the application will form part of the database of the Nigerian Copyright Commission mandated to be kept under the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Registration
What is the fee for copyright registration?
The fee for registration is ₦10,000 (ten thousand naira) for those paying in naira, and $60 USD for those who are registering from outside Nigeria. Fees for other transactions under the registration scheme are as follows: Issuance of Certified true copy of Certificate ₦5,000 and $30 respectively.
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