FILING OF TRADEMARKS IN NIGERIA
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a symbol, design, or device that identifies a product as unique and distinctive. Trademarks are usually applied to protect a product, business identity or brand.
In other words, a trademark is a registered and unique identification or indicator of goods, service, or name that a business entity can use to distinguish itself or its product from its competitors.
Trademarks are particularly important as they set the company apart from the competition. A brand in Nigeria can be vital to growing or maintaining a business in the market and as it reflects of the reputation of the business.
Before you put your product to market, one should consider having it trademarked.
Trademarks enjoy the protection of law in Nigeria, and there are legal remedies available to an owner whose trademark is infringed.
Knowledge about the value and process registering a trademark is very essential to both an aspiring or established business owner in Nigeria.
Why should you file a trademark?
As a business owner, trademarking your brand helps to control and protect the commercial value and reputation of your brand or product. It is always important to have a trademark in place because it is your unique identity.
The trademark itself should be distinctive and original, just like you. When someone else uses a mark that is similar to yours or has a similar sound, texture, color, etc. in order to sell their product or service, then they are infringing on your trademark rights. To protect your brand or enforce it, you need to register the trademark.
Unfortunately, many business owners neglect to register their trademarks after registering or starting their business.
What are the steps to register a trademark?
The following is basically a summary of the procedure:
The first step is to identify the class or relevant classes you wish to file under.
Nigeria follows the International Classification of Goods and Services. There are precisely 45 international classes.
The application is filed for examination or preliminary search at the trademark office. The results can be obtained within 48 hours. If the application is accepted, an acceptance letter can be issued within 2 weeks. The mark will eventually be published in the Official Journal. The opposition period will be 2 months from the date of publication in Official Journal. If no opposition(s) arises, the application will mature to registration and the registration certificate is issued.
Filing Requirements in Nigeria
- Name, address, and nationality of applicant.
- Meaning/translation of mark (for word marks and design marks incorporating words)
- Description of goods/services.
- Specimen prints.
Authorisation letter to the agent or Power of Attorney simply signed & sealed.
(Special form required)
:: It usually takes from 12-24 months to complete the registration.
:: Each class should be filed separately.
:: Trademark protection is valid for Seven (7) years.
:: Registration can be renewed indefinitely for further periods of Fourteen (14) years each at the end of each term of protection.
Please note that this is just a summary, and you are advised to consult with an Attorney for sufficient information.