REGISTRATION OF TRADEMARKS IN NIGERIA
A trademark refers to a recognizable symbol, logo, word, phrase, or design, (or a combination of these) used to identify and Individualize goods or services offered by a business and distinguish same from others.
In Nigeria, Trademark Registration is governed by the Trade Marks Act, Cap T13 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The Government Agency saddled with the responsibility to register trademarks is the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department of the Ministry of Trade and Investment.
HOW TO REGISTER A TRADEMARK IN NIGERIA
PRELIMINARY AVAILABILITY SEARCH
The first step to be undertaken while registering a trademark in Nigeria is to conduct an availability search at the Trademark Registry. This is to find out whether the proposed mark does not conflict with an existing trademark and is available under the relevant trademark class. Once, the search is conducted and the result reveals that the mark is available for registration, the application process can then be commenced accordingly.
FILING OF APPLICATION AND ISSUANCE OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Upon confirming the availability of the proposed trademark at the Registry, the applicant will be required to duly fill the Application form with relevant information and also provide necessary documents which will be submitted alongside the form. The following information and documents will be required at this stage:
1. Name, representation or prints of the proposed trademark
2. Name of the Applicant.
3. Contact details of the Applicant such as address, phone number and email address
4. Executed Power of Attorney (where applicable)
5. Letter of Authorisation for use of certain word(s) (where applicable)
It is important to note that for the purpose of registration of trademarks in Nigeria, applications are arranged in accordance with trademark classification. The Nigerian law classifies goods and services into 45 International classes in line with the Nice International Classification of Good and Services of the Nice Agreement 1957. For more on trademark classification, you may read our article via: http://aekleysolicitors.com/classes-of-trademark-in-nigeria/
At this stage, upon submission of the duly completed application form and payment of the requisite fees, the Trademark Registry will issue a Trademark Registration Acknowledgement Form which confirms receipt of the application.
ASSESSMENT AND ACCEPTANCE
Upon the assessment and approval of the submitted application by the Trademark Registry, the trademark will be registered accordingly and a Trademark Acceptance Letter will be issued to the Applicant. The Acceptance Letter serves as the initial evidence that the trademark has been duly registered.
Depending on whether or not there are objections raised during the registration process, the average time for obtaining the acknowledgment and acceptance documents with respect to trademark registration is usually between 3–5 weeks.
PUBLICATION AND ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE
At this last stage, the trademark will be published in the Trademarks Journal by the Registry and a Certificate of Registration will be issued thereafter if there are no objections to the mark within 2 months of publication.
it is important to note that the validity period for a registered trademark is 7 years at the first instance. However, the registration is subsequently renewable for 14 years period thereafter from time to time.
It is equally noteworthy that the process for registration of a trademark in Nigeria can only be done through entities accredited with the Trademark Registry. Therefore, all applicants must engage the services of an accredited agent to register their trademark.