Trademark is a sign that individualizes the goods of a given enterprise and distinguishes it from other goods.
Goods in this sense include a song title as seen in the joromi case discussed in an earlier session; even a name and image (in some countries) can be registered as a trademark. Moving to sports, some players/coaches names are registered as a trade mark when they join a club if someone should use such player name for an advert or anything that attracts pecuniary profit he’d pay to the club.
Most fashion designers have their logo placed on their shirts after registration… Using such logo without permission is an infringement on the fashion designer trademark.
Ever wondered why Davido used fia instead of fire… Looking at it from the legal perspective if such is registered he is going to generate wealth from the commercial use of that title. He had trademark issues with a fashion designer for his song title: ‘if’ (can’t remember the fact). Understanding trademark is very important.
Trademarks are covered by Nigerian Trademark Act 1990. Do you wish to find out how to register a trademark in Nigeria?
You can start the process in two ways.
Guide 1: Write an application by yourself to Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department of Federal Ministry of Industry.
All trademarks and patents are registered at Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department of Federal Ministry of Industry.
But before writing a letter, do a search to make sure that someone does not have a similar trademark. That you do not see such trademark on the market does not mean someone has not done it before.
So, you will do a proper search to make sure that no one has done similar mark. Your application letter must contain your full names, passport photographs, and verifiable address even if you are not based in Nigeria.
Also, you need to attach the sample of your trademark, description of relevant information, diagrams, and design. Define the claim or protection (in details) you wish to lay on the trademark. You use this method to register a trademark in Nigeria by yourself.
Guide 2: Get a lawyer to do it for you. You can instruct a local agent/ lawyer to file the application for you providing the requirements mentioned earlier and a signed power of attorney/Authorization of agent to be completed in favour of your lawyer as the enabling instrument to act on your behalf.
He or she will file and follow it up. The agent will be responsible for processing the registration and defending any opposition if it arises, provides the address of local services of documents, and maintains renewal of the trademarks. So, you can register a trademark in Nigeria through a lawyer/agent.
Guide 3: Online application can be used to achieve the same purpose.
It was introduced by the registry to make applications hassle free. You can do this on
After registration, you will get automatic acknowledgment from them. All necessary payments can be made through quickteller.com.
Remember that your local agent can also do it for you online as there is a provision for it on their website. If applications are to be filed online, soft copies of the documents mentioned above are to be provided in jpeg format at a minimum of 1200 dpi.
After the online application, the Registry reviews the application to see if it meets the requirements for registration. This is another way to register a trademark in Nigeria.
After the filing of an application for registration and approval, the court registrar issues an acknowledgment to you (or your agent).
A search will be done to ascertain if a similar mark had been filed or registered earlier by the registry. The registrar will also check if the trademark is worthy to be registered.
If it is okay, you will be notified by a letter of acceptance. When a trademark is submitted, it is advertised in Nigerian Trademark Journal for two months to allow people to oppose or object its registration. If someone opposes it, your agent will be informed to come and defend it.
But if no one objects it, the registrar will issue a certificate of registration to you (or through your agent depending on how you intend to process it).
Note that all goods do not have trademarks covering it, but the disadvantage is that one will not be able to sue someone else or any company he feels is using his trademark because it is not registered in the first place.
The whole process takes roughly 18 – 24 months and a total cost is about N50000 to N60000 to register a trademark in Nigeria.
In conclusion, to register trademark in Nigeria has the many benefits in that the registry protects your trademarks, discourages others from using similar marks without your license, notifies the general public about your ownership of the mark (thereby popularizing your trademark), and file a case against at Federal High Court against any company or individual in the event of infringement on the trademark.
Duration of trademarks is 7 years from filling date and renewal for further periods of 14 years.
Therefore, all Nigerian inventors are advised in their best interests to register their trademarks because of the attendant benefits.