NEED-TO-KNOWS ON TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IN NIGERIA
What is a Trademark?
A trademark gives protection to a particular name, logo or symbol that is relating to your business brand or your products. Trademark can be classified as intellectual property. They apply to logos, branding, symbols and even the colours that are pertaining to a specific product or business brand. Take for example the Coca-Cola symbol, the bite marked fruits on all apple products, MTN’s logo and the yellow affiliated colour.
Trademarking has no limitation because you can trademark words, sounds and even the packaging of your products.
No matter the size of your business, you should TRADEMARK
Whether small, medium or large, you must be aware that trademarking is not only for the big and multinational companies. Even if you are operating a small business, you must learn to trademark it in order to protect your hard work, brand, products and other relevant intellectual property. Trademarking will provide you protection from copycats who are willing to damage the reputation of your business and also to make money off your intellectual property.
Why is Trademark important to your business?
Trademarks are important to your business due to the following reasons:
- It makes it easy for customers to notice your product
Trademarking your product will make it very easy for your customers to distinguish your products from that of your competitors and copycats. The product market is a very congested place which makes it difficult for customers to pick a particular item. It will make your product and services stand out from other countless products. Customers will pick your product because they are familiar with the trademark and they believe that your products or services are in line with your business reputation
- It allows use maximize the social media effectively
When your customers are looking for your goods and services, majority of them will use the internet through social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the google search engine. When you have a higher traffic on the internet due to customers looking for your product or services, it will lead to higher ranking and even more recognition for your product or services
- It is a valuable asset
As you grow your reputation through delivering consistent and valuable goods and services, your trademark will grow overtime. It will also allow you to transition from one business industry to another. A larger organization may also want to acquire your trademark which is now valuable and expensive. Trademarks are like a property asset and they can be bought, sold, leased and can even be used to acquire a loan for your business
- Trademarks are an effective communication tool
Trademarks says a lot about an organization’s product or services. It gives detailed information about you, the organization and your reputation. Take for example the Adidas logo is recognized everywhere in the world regardless of the language barrier between nations
- Trademarks are not expensive
Obtaining a trademark in Nigeria is something that a small business can acquire without stress
- It protects you and your consumers
Trademarking protects you and your consumers from copycats that are willing to damage the reputation of your organization. This is because businesses are responsible for the services they render or the products they sell that is bearing their trademark on them. In order to maintain a good reputation, organizations will ensure that they provide quality goods and services
Registering a trademark for your business in Nigeria
Registration of trademark in Nigeria is effected at the Trademark, Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Area 1, Garki, Abuja. If a trademark is registered in Nigeria, this is when one can proceed to institute any proceeding to prevent, or to recover damages for its infringement
The rules and regulation governing trademark in Nigeria are the
- Trademark Act, Cap T 13
- Laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004 (‘’TMA’’)
- Trademark regulation 1990
According to the Trademark act, when registering your trademark in Nigeria, it would contain the following
- The name of the company
- The name of the individual or applicant
- The signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in the business
- An invented word or the invented words: A word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods and not being according to its ordinary geographical name or a surname
Procedures for registering a trademark in Nigeria
The lifespan of a trademark that has been registered is 7 years, and there is a renewable for a period of 14 years after the expiration of the last registration in Nigeria. The following are the procedures for registering your trademark in Nigeria.
- The search
This has do with making sure that a particular logo, symbol or name has not been registered before by another individual. This will enable know whether you can go ahead with trademarking the name, product or logo.
The next step after searching is to acquire an application form that will enable you register your trademark
According to the trademark act under the publication of notice of application
- Subject to the provisions of this section, when an application or registration of a trademark has been accepted. Whether absolutely or subject to conditions or limitations, the Registrar shall, as soon as may be after acceptance, cause notice of the application as accepted to be published in the Journal; and the notice shall set out all conditions and limitations subject to which the application has been accepted.
- In the case of an application made under section 9(1)(e) of this Act, or in any other case where it appears to him that it is expedient by reason of any exceptional circumstances to do so, the Registrar may cause notice of an application for registration of a trade mark to be published in the Journal before acceptance.
- Where under subsection (2) of this section, notice of such an application has been published in the Journal before acceptance, the Registrar may, if he thinks fit, cause notice of the application to be published in the Journal again when it has been accepted, but shall not be bound to do so
After the application form has been filled and submitted, the applicant will receive an acknowledgement letter from the ministry that will confirm that the fees has been paid.
After the acknowledgement letter has been received from the ministry and there has been a successful consideration of the letter that was submitted, the Registrar will issue an acceptance letter that will approve the registration of the trademark. The letter will also provide details to the applicant regarding when the proposed trademark would be published or advertised in the trademark journal in order to ensure that the trademark is not owned by anybody and anyone that has a claim to the proposed trademark should come forward
If there is an opposition to registration the trademark acts says that
- Any person may within two months from the date Opposition of the publication under section 19 of this Act of notice of an application give notice to the Registrar of opposition to the registration.
- The notice shall be given in writing in the prescribed manner, and shall include a statement of the grounds of opposition.
- The Registrar shall send a copy of every such notice to the applicant; and within one month after the date on which the copy is received by the applicant the applicant shall send to the Registrar in the prescribed manner a counter-statement of the grounds on which he relies for his application and, if he does not do so, shall be treated as ‘having abandoned his application.
- If the applicant sends such a counter-statement as aforesaid, the Registrar shall furnish a copy thereof to the persons giving notice of opposition, and shall, after hearing the parties, if so required, and considering the evidence, decide whether, and subject to what conditions or limitations, if any, registration is to be permitted.
- The Registrar may request a person giving notice of opposition or an applicant sending a counter-statement after receipt of a copy of such a notice to give security for costs of the proceedings before him relating to the opposition, and in default of such security being duly given may treat the opposition or application, as the case may be, as abandoned.
- Issuance of certificate
This is the final phase of the procedure where an application will be made for the certificate of registration of trademark which will be issued to the applicant. . Upon the registration of the trademark, the Registrar issues to the Applicant, a Certificate of Registration bearing the Registered Trademark No. and the date of filing. A trademark is registered as of the date of the application for registration (filing date) and that date is deemed to be the date of registration.
Requirements for registration of a trademark in Nigeria
The following are the relevant requirements for registering a trademark in Nigeria
- The Logo or symbol or shape which may include words and sounds
- The name of the applicant
- The contact details of the applicant
- An accredited agent or a lawyer
How much will it cost for trademark registration in Nigeria?
When registering a trademark in Nigeria, the price will consist of the filing fees and the professional fees of the consultant or the lawyer that is handling the application. The cost for acquiring a trademark in Nigeria costs between N100, 000 to N180, 000 depending on certain factors such as
- The amount the lawyer dealing with the application is charging’
- If the proposed trademark is owned by a local or foreign individual or organization.
The cost will cover all the procedures that are involved in the registration of a trademark in Nigeria.
How long a trademark registration lasts in Nigeria?
A trademark registration in Nigeria will last for a period of 7 (seven) years and can be renewed after an expiration from time to time.. The requirements for a trademark renewal in Nigeria includes:
- Trademark Certificate
- Power of Attorney appointing the agent
- Payment of the prescribed fee
- According to the trademark act under the duration and renewal of registration:
- The registration of a trade mark shall be for a period of seven years, but may be renewed from tune to time registration. in accordance with the provisions of this section: Provided that, in relation to a registration as of a date before the commencement of this Act, this subsection shall have effect with the substitution of a period of fourteen years for the said period of seven years.
- The Registrar shall, on application made by the registered proprietor of a trade mark in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed period, renew the registration of the trade mark for a period of fourteen years from the date of expiration of the original registration or of the last renewal of registration, as the case may be (which date is in the section referred to as “the expiration of the last registration’’.
- At the prescribed time before the expiration of the last registration of a trade mark, the Registrar shall send notice in the prescribed manner to the registered proprietor of the date of expiration and the conditions as to payment of fees and otherwise upon which a renewal of registration may be obtained, and, if at the expiration of the time prescribed in that behalf those conditions have not been duly complied with, the Registrar may remove the trade mark from the register, subject to such conditions, if any, as to its restoration to the register as may be prescribed.
- Where a trade mark has been removed from the register for non-payment of the fee for renewal, it shall, nevertheless, for the purpose of any application for the registration of a trade mark during one year next after the date of the removal, be deemed to be a trade- mark that is already on the register: Provided that the foregoing provisions of this subsection shall not have effect where the court is satisfied either
- That there has been no bona fide trade use of the trade mark that has been removed during the two years immediately preceding its removal; or
- That no deception or confusion would be likely to arise from the use of the trade mark that is the subject of the application for registration by reason of any previous use of the trade mark that has been removed.
Assigning and recording trademark in Nigeria
Any legal trademark holder may decide to assign the trademark to another person or entity for a particular period of time. The assignor of the trademark right will proceed to apply to the trademark office so that the right in favour of the assignee will be recorded. Although, it is more preferable for the Assignee to carry out the recording itself or himself/herself, since only the holder of a trademark title or right may enforce such aright against any infringing third party. The requirements for trademark recording or assigning includes the following:-
- Trademark Certificate
- Deed or Agreement assigning the trademark
- Power of Attorney appointing the agent
- Payment of the prescribed fee
These need-to-knows on trade marks in Nigeria will give you the proper guidance on how you best you can protect your intellectual property. Nigeria is a populous nation with a very large economy which in turn leads to an increase in demand for consumer goods and services. This is why trademarks are very important for your business no matter the size. Having a trademark for your business will go a long way in ensuring that your intellectual property is protected and not stolen by anyone.For more information on Trademark registration in Nigeria, you can contact us on 08023200801, 08075765799, Email: email@example.com
About the author
Onamakinde Dare Daniel is a highly motivated accountant with knowledge in Accounting, Taxation, Management, Audit, Costing and Research. He is keen on tax matters due to its ever dynamic nature.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]