How To Register A Trademark In Nigeria

How To Register A Trademark In Nigeria

Do you have products that you would like to register a trademark for in Nigeria, but you don’t know how to go about it? This blog post wills should all you need to know about trademark, and how to register it in Nigeria.

WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?

A Trademark is a Logo, Mark, or Sign, by which a product is known, described, recognized and distinguished from other products. It can be a sign, a logo or a name. And in the case of a name, it is referred to as trade name.

The name by which a business is known, described or associated is a very important aspect of carrying on a business because a business’ name indicates what such a business does and what it represents.

However, some business people do not pay considerable attention to the legal rules and regulations governing the use of their Trade Names in Nigeria. This has led to loss of brand values, and in some cases litigation by the registered owner(s) who don’t want his/their Trade Name to be associated with another business entity to which he/they have no relationship or control.

WHAT IS A TRADENAME?

A Trade Name is the name by which a business differentiates itself and its trading objects from all other businesses. The Companies and Allied Matters Act (“CAMA”) requires that every individual, firm or corporation having a place of business in Nigeria and or carrying on business in Nigeria, whether such a business is carried on in the individual’s name or in a corporate name, must be registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (“CAC”) within a period of twenty-eight (28) days of the commencement of such a business.

WHAT THE TRADEMARK ACT SAYS

The Trade Marks Act; Chapter 436; Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 provides for Trademarks and Patents in Nigeria.

A trademark is a symbol or a sign which differentiates the goods and services of one business from another one. You can register your trademark - a name, logo, slogan, domain name, shape, colour or sound with the Commercial Law department, Ministry of Trade and Investment in Nigeria. This can legally protect your trademark from use by a competitor. The trademark must be distinctive for the goods and services that you provide, not be deceptive, illegal or immoral and not be similar to existing trademarks.


INTRODUCTION TO USING A TRADEMARK

A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark/logo/sign by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit on payment of additional fees. Trademark protection is enforced by the courts, which in most systems have the authority to block trademark infringement.

PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION OF TRADE MARKS

1.            NAME SEARCH

First, you have to choose a minimum of two names, and submit it to the trademark registry through your agent. The importance of the name search is to find out whether or not the name is available for use, because somebody else may have been using that name in the marketplace.

E.g. if you want to start a sachet water company and you need to develop a unique name for the water and logo to identify your product, you need to select a name for the brand and logo. E.g. TOMMY WATER, POPSY WATER, etc. The names will be searched and if it’s available, you go to the next step below.

2.            FILING YOUR APPLICATION

The standard market practice is to instruct a local Attorney/Agent in Nigeria, who would file and process applications at the Nigerian Registry of Trade Marks, Patents, Designs and Copyright.

After filing the application for trade mark registration, the Registrar issues an official acknowledgement which shows the official number and filing date of the application, and the amount paid. This is done to inform you officially that your filing has been received.

3.            REGISTRATION

Once the acknowledgement letter is issued, the registry begins the registration which includes a lot of processes. After a period of time, the trademark is registered and an ACCEPTANCE LETTER is issued. This is the official letter that confirms the trademark registration.

Upon the issuance of the acceptance letter, you are now a legitimate owner of your trademark. However, this is subject to publication in the trademark journal.

4.            PUBLICATION

Every trade mark application must be advertised in the Nigerian Trademark Journal, and it is open to opposition for a period of two (2) months from the date of advertisement.

If no objections are received within the specified period or no objections are sustained, the Registrar will issue the applicant with a certificate of registration.

When issued, the Registration Certificate will reflect the date of initial filing as date of registration (i.e. date of filing acknowledgement).


HOW LONG DOES TRADEMARK REGISTRATION TAKES?

Usually, the Trademark registration can take up to 3 to 4 months. This is because it requires a lot of processes.

P.S. People ask, "how much does it cost to register a trademark in Nigeria?" Some agencies can assist you to register trademarks in Nigeria for N80, 000 within 3 weeks from the date of receipt of result of a successful name search.

HOW LONG IS A TRADEMARK VALID?

Nigerian trade mark registrations have an initial validity of seven (7) years, and are thereafter indefinitely renewable for periods of fourteen (14) years. An application for renewal should be made not less than three (3) months from the due date.


WHEN CAN YOUR TRADEMARK BE REMOVED BY THE TRADEMARK OFFICE?
It is necessary to note that a trademark may be taken off the register in any of the following circumstances:

i) Non-use, on the request of any person concerned, if it can be established that the mark was registered without any bonafide intention to use, and there has in fact been bonafide use of the trademark;

ii) It may be removed for non-use during a continuous period of at least five years during which the trademark was registered.

iii) Noncompliance to the registrar’s statutory notice to renew by the registered proprietor.


Conclusion: I hope this helps those looking to trademark their products. Good luck. The Trademark registration in Nigeria website is http://www.iponigeria.com

Credit: Nairaland http://www.nairaland.com/1951681/how-register-trademark-nigeria

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