Intellectual Property is one of the most important and valuable assets which a company owns. It enhances the brand image of the company in the market place and has a competitive advantage. In Africa, Nigeria is the most populous nation with the largest economy in the continent and a fast-growing services sector with an increasing need for consumer goods and services. This factor makes registring Trademarks in Nigeria important. Trademarks are a combination of word or words, logos, images, figures, graphics or any other form which gives goods/services a unique identity separate from the similar goods/services. There are numerous benefits of trademark registration. In this article, we will discuss Trademark Rules and Regulation in Nigeria.
Authority and Legislation for Trademark registration in Nigeria
- The authority responsible for trademark application in Nigeria is the Nigerian trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry.
- The Nigerian trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry is under the Commercial Department of the Ministry of Trade and Investments.
- No other authority can provide trademarks registration in Nigeria.
The most relevant Trademark legislation in Nigeria is:
- The Nigerian Trademarks Act(TMA) Cap. T13( Laws of the Federation of Nigeria(LFN) 2004) is the legislation of trademarks in Nigeria.
- The Merchandise Marks Act Cap. M10 LFN 2004.
Process of Registering Trademarks in Nigeria
The process of trademark registration is as follows:
- A Trademark Search is conducted to know whether the desired Trademark is available or not.
- An examination of the trademark application is conducted on the basis of:
- Classification of goods and services
- The distinctiveness of the mark
- The descriptiveness of the mark
- The deceptiveness
- Prior registration
- Publication of the following information about the application in the Trademark Journal for Trademark opposition:
- Application number
- Application date
- Goods/services covered under Trademark
- State or country of incorporation of the applicant (optional)
- Name of the applicant of the Trademark
- Citizenship of the applicant (optional)
- Address of applicant
- Priority claim information
- Representation of trademark
- After the publication of the trademark in the Trademark Journal, the Trademark is granted registration, if no party raises an objection.
Must Read: Trademark Application Status
Registrable Trademarks in Nigeria
There are several types of trademarks that are registrable in Nigeria.
- Any mark, words, designs, device, numerals, labels, or combination of these which are distinctive in nature are capable of being registered as Trademarks in Nigeria.
- Marks which have acquired distinctiveness as used in relation to goods for the purpose of indicating a connection in the course of trade between such goods and some person having the right either as proprietor or as a registered user to use the mark can be registered as a trademark.
Non-Registrable Trademarks in Nigeria
- The deceptive marks which are likely to mislead the general public.
- Scandalous marks which are contrary to law and morality.
- Vulgar and disparaging marks.
- Names of chemical substances.
- Identical or resembling trademarks that are likely to deceive or create confusion.
- The use of the Nigerian Coat of Arms or other emblem or insignia of government authority is not capable of registration in Nigeria.
Who can own a Trademark in Nigeria?
- Natural and Legal persons can own a trademark in Nigeria.
- Legal persons include:
- Religious Societies
- Charitable Organizations
Basic Requirements for registering Trademarks in Nigeria
The basic requirements for registering trademarks in Nigeria include:
- Logo, which may include Words and/or Device of the trademark.
- Name of the applicant.
- Contact details of the applicant.
- A Power of Attorney to conduct such registration.
Must Read: Documents for Trademark
How Goods and Services are described?
In Nigeria, Goods and Services are described following the Nice Classification. In total there are 45 classes of Trademarks. Classes 1 to 34 includes Goods and classes 35 to 45 include Services.
Must Read: Trademark Classification
Territories Covered by a trademark in Nigeria
- In Nigeria, trademarks are territorial and have a limit only to Nigeria.
- Currently, Nigeria does not belong to any regional registration regime or to the Madrid System.
- For the registration approval of a trademark, a timeframe of 18 months is required, if no objections or oppositions arise.
- It may take as long as 24 months if any party raises an objection against the applicant’s trademark application.
- In Nigeria, trademarks have an initial validity period of seven years.
- The owners can seek trademark renewal thereafter for 14 years period indefinitely and as long as the mark remains in use.
Power of Attorney
- A power of attorney is necessarily needed since only registered agents/attorneys can engage in administrative dealings at the Registry.
- Notarization, certification or other legislation of the document is not necessary unless the document is issued in a language other than English.
- For bodies corporate, the signature of two authorized persons and the seal of the body corporate are required.
Legal Rights of a registered Trademark Owner
A registered trademark confers on the owner the exclusive right to use the mark and the right to sue for trademark infringement in the event of unlawful use. It further serves as constructive notice to the public and as prima facie evidence of the ownership and validity of the trademark.
Trademark Registration gives the owner the following rights:
- To obtain a court order (injunction) to stop unlawful use by an infringer.
- To grant a license to another to use the registered trademark in return for license fees, royalties or other payments.
- Assign the trademark.
- To transfer the trademark in a will.
- To achieve indisputable status after a seven-year period under Section 14(1) of the Trademarks Act.
Must Read: Trademark Protection
Getting a Trademark for your business is beneficial for growth and success. There exist several rules and regulations for registering Trademarks in Nigeria. A preliminary Trademark Search is required before filing Trademark Application. The Nigerian trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry is the legal authority that facilitates registering Trademarks in Nigeria.
If you are also planning to obtain a trademark for your business and or have any trademark-related queries, give us a call at +91 8750008585 and our team of dedicated and experienced experts will provide you all the information. You can also visit our website Trademark Cart.