Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa. Not only that, but the services sector is also growing at a rapid pace in the country. As Nigeria is one of the largest countries in Africa as far as the population goes, the requirement of consumer goods is rising with leaps and bounces. Because of this, trademark registration in Nigeria has become very much a prominent and crucial factor these days. So, here is a guide that will help you to register your trademark quite efficiently in Nigeria.
Laws for the trademark in Nigeria
Before proceeding further, let’s take a look at the laws that are governing the trademark accreditation in Nigeria.
There are a couple of very important laws that are governing the entire scenario.
The first one is the Trade Marks Act, Cap T 13.
The other is the Trademark Regulations 1990.
These acts define any sign or mark to be legally embed in the goods given by a party.
It will be different from any other marks.
And it will be the identity of a party producing and supplying goods for the sake of trade.
The overview of the entire process
To facilitate trademark registration, Nigerian laws classify the produced goods into 34 international classes in trademark registration.
A separate application has to be made to register the trademark for these 34 classes each.
As you can guess wisely, use is not a big factor for the registration of the trademark in Nigeria.
A proprietor or a local agent (in the case of a foreign proprietor) makes the application for trademark registration.
Excluding the time due to bureaucratic delays, while the registration process is on.
The completion of the entire process will require about 12 to 18 months.
A foreign producer of products wants to import the produced products to the Nigerian market to carry foreign trade.
But the trademark registration in Nigeria will allow the owner of the product to have exclusive rights over its trademark.
Eligibility of the trademark in Nigeria
It is important to understand what constitutes a trademark.
The registration allows the owner of the trademark to enjoy exclusive rights.
The respective classes of goods for which the trademark was registered.
The violation of the trademark could happen when a person uses an identical mark for trade.
It will be deemed as deceiving or confusing the general public concerning the trade of the goods for which the trademark was registered.
In such cases, the owner of the registered trademark could take legal actions against the ones deceiving the public.
Now, it is very crucial to understand the eligibility for a sign to get consider as a trademark.
Not every mark can be included in the trademark registrar.
For that, it needs to have the following things:
- The name of an individual or a company or a firm is portrayed uniquely.
- Signature of the person applying for the registration his or her predecessor in the business.
- Creatively invented and used a word or a group of words in the sign.
- A word or a group of words without any direct reference to the quality or the character of good.
- Also, it should not bear any ordinary signification of surname or geographical name.
- Any other type of a distinctive mark.
Refusal of the trademark application
There are significant grounds for the refusal of the application for trademark registration in Nigeria.
First of all, if the trademark one tries to register does not follow the above eligibility criteria.
The application of such trademark registration will be rejected immediately.
Apart from that, there are other causes for which the application could get refuse.
Such cases are as follows;
- The mark or the sign is not following morality or low.
- It is also giving a sense of scandalous or deceptiveness.
- Mark or the sign is containing a word that is an accepted name of a chemical element or a compound.
- There should be from the mixture based on the chemical preparation or the substance.
- The sign is containing some prohibited words or symbols.
- Those words are “patented”, “patent”, “registered”, “registered design”, “copyright”, and such other words.
- Such prohibited symbols are the names of Coat of Arms or chemical substances.
It is important to find the solution of the objection on absolute grounds for the trademark registration with proper representation of the applicant’s view.
Either written or oral statement to the authority for the registration will be a way to state one’s objection and view.
Also, amending the application of the trademark is a way to overcome this problem; however, the registrar will inform whether it is applicable or not.
Requirements for trademark registration
It is quite vital to understand the requirements for trademark registration.
In case the requirements are not made, the trademark will not get registered.
So, the following are the requirements one needs to fulfil to register the trademark.
- Information and details about the proprietor or the applicant applying for a trademark which includes name and nationality.
- A representation of the applying trademark on prints or any other ways according to the direction of the authority.
- The specification of the class for the goods or services under which the registration of the trademark will happen.
- The Authorisation of Agent or Power of Attorney signature of the applicant in case the applicant is a body corporate.
- Also, the signatory officer will sign it as well.
- There is no need for notarization or legislation of this document.
One has to follow a legal process to register the trademark.
So, the first thing that any applicant should do before applying for the trademark registration in Nigeria is to search.
The applicant needs to find out whether the trademark is available or not.
If the trademark already exists, then the application will be rejected immediately.
However, after the application is made, the authorised registrar will provide an “acknowledgement form”.
It will confirm that the trademark registration portal has received the application.
They will also provide a temporary number that is issued following the trademark application.
It will show that the registration of the trademark is still waiting.
It can also indicate the allocation of the permanent number of registration is still pending.
Once the trademark registrar provides the application with a temporary number for the trademark registration, a thorough examination will begin.
The examination will happen since it is necessary to find out whether a similar trademark exists or not.
Otherwise, it will prevent registration from happening.
The registrar will also scrutinise the applying trademark.
The scrutiny will take place on whether the trademark is deceptive, scandalous, or distinctive.
Also, the trademark cannot contain words like chemical substances’ names that violet the eligibility of the trademark.
These things will make result in the direct rejection of the application for trademark registration.
It should not also contain the name of the living or dead person without consent.
The examination will be over after the registrar feels that the sign or mark is eligible for the registration.
The registrar will issue the “Acceptance Form” afterwards.
On the other hand, if the sign or mark violets the eligibility, the registrar will issue the “Refusal Form”.
After that, the publishing of the trademark will happen in the journal for the trademark.
It will be there in the journal for 12 to 18 months.
It will make any party aware of the trademark who wants to object its registration.
Once the period of 12 to 18 months is over, the registrar will issue the “Letter of Acceptance”.
The objection of the trademark registration
Now, it is important to know what will happen if any party objects to the inclusion of the trademark.
The party looking to object should file the objection.
The filing should happen within 2 months from the date of the publishing of the trademark in the trademark journal.
The extension of the date for this period of 2 months is not possible.
The hearing of this objection will take place in front of the registrar.
After hearing both the disputing parties over the trademark, the registrar will take a look at the evidence which both the parties will produce.
After that, the registrar will provide the verdict.
However, it is possible to appeal against this verdict to the Federal High Court.
Registration of the trademark
If there is any objection, then resolving the objection is the most important thing before the trademark registration in Nigeria.
But, if there is no objection to the trademark registration, the registrar will provide the registration certificate to the applicant.
The trademark registration will become effective from the day of application in the past.
The rights on the trademark for the applicant will start once the registration is over.
But, it will take the same effect from the day of application.
This registration of the trademark will happen for 7 years.
It is possible to renew the trademark from time to time for 14 years.
Renewal of the trademark
After registering the trademark by following the due process, the registration will take place for 7 years.
However, one has to review the registration from time to time to continue enjoying the exclusive rights.
After 7 years is over, the trademark renewal of the trademark becomes important.
After the renewal is over, one will have the trademark for another 14 years.
One has to follow the due procedure for the renewal as well.
It is possible to assign or transmit the trademark according to the connection and goodwill of the business.
All the goods or a section of goods from the same class from the same producer can bear the trademark.
It is important to keep a record of the assignments of the trademark in the registry.
Revocation of the trademark
It is possible to take off or revoke the trademark from the register through an application.
Any concerned person can make such an application on the following points;
The non-use of the trademark and the person applying for the revocation needs to prove it.
Once the person establishes the fact that the use of the trademark did not happen in a genuine way.
Or the use is happening more prevalently than it is supposed to.
- Non-use of the trademark at a stretch for 5 long years after the registration of the trademark.
- Lacks sufficient cause for the registration in the Trademark Registrar.
- The trademark’s proprietor is not complying with the statutory renewal notice from the registrar.
After the removal of the trademark, the proprietor of the trademark loses all the rights of using the trademark.
So, the use of the trademark concerning the goods will now be prohibited.
Nigeria is a signatory part of the Paris Convention.
So, the countries of the same convention will not have any priority form registration.
It is because of the non-existence of the executive order from the governing body.
Because of this, the applications made for the trademark registration in Nigeria from the other countries of the convention will not have the priority.
Trademark registration in Nigeria, key takeaways
Now, you will have a clear idea about the trademark registration in Nigeria.
In most of the countries, the process of trademark registration is very complex.
But, unlike such countries, Nigeria is following a simple process.
It is one of the reasons why the country facilitates trade in such a nice way.
Countries from around the world look forward to investing in Nigeria.
Because of this, the country became the largest economy in Africa.
The rise of Nigeria in the world economy is quite startling.
The country took some important and ground-breaking decisions that made the trade easier in the country.
Looking at the process and everything else for the registration of a trademark in Nigeria.
You will feel that the process is quite simple.
Also, the trademark protection in Nigeria is a big factor that you cannot overlook.
Hopefully, this trademark registration guide will help you to take the necessary steps to complete the registration quite easily.