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How To Register A Trademark In Nigeria (Updated 2024)

How to register a trademark in Nigeria

How To Register A Trademark In Nigeria

INTRODUCTION

Basically, a trademark is the right covering the protection of goodwill attached to marketing products. Trademark is a type of Intellectual Property. Intellectual Property is described as intellectual creations, particularly technological inventions, literary and artistic works[1]. It is a branch of law which protects some of the finer manifestation of human achievement[2].

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Trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or other sensory symbol used by a manufacturer or seller to distinguish its products or services from those of others[3]. It enables customers to recognize products in the marketplace and distinguish other products from its competitors.

The main purpose of adding trademark to products or services is to designate the source of goods or services. In effect, the trademark is the commercial substitute for one’s signature. In the landmark case of Trademarks Act v. Adebayo [1991] 3 NWLR (Part 175) 229, the Court of Appeal held that registration of a trademark gives the owner a right to sue for infringement.

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Similarly, in the well-established case of Nigerian Bottling Company v. Seven-Up Bottling Company CA/L/9/97 (Unreported), the Supreme Court of Nigeria held that registration of a trademark gives the owner a right to the exclusive use of the mark.

Also, in the well-settled case of Nike International Ltd. v. Gala Industries Ltd SC.345/2006 (Unreported), the Court of Appeal of Nigeria established that registration of a trademark confers exclusive rights to use the mark and that the registered owner of a trademark can sue for infringement in order to protect those rights.

More importantly, trademarks in Nigeria are governed by the Trade Marks Act, Cap T13 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. However, to ensure consistency among jurisdictions, the International Goods and Services Classification (“Nice Classification”) was established in accordance with the 1957 Nice Agreement. The classification system is used for trademark registration in Nigeria and many nations around the world.

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The Nice Classification or International Goods and Services Classification is classified into commodities and services for the purpose of trademark registration which are forty-five (45) classes in total. Class 1 to 34 is for commodities while Class 35 to 45 is for services. The trademark registration in Nigeria is processed through the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department of the Ministry of Trade and Investment.

Classes of Trademarks in Nigeria

The following are the forty-five (45) classes of the trademark in Nigeria and around the globe. They include;

  • Class 1: Chemical Products
  • Class 2: Paint Products
  • Class 3: Cosmetics and Cleaning Products
  • Class 4: Lubricant and Fuel Products
  • Class 5: Pharmaceutical Products
  • Class 6: Metal Products
  • Class 7: Machinery Products
  • Class 8: Hand Tool Products
  • Class 9: Computer and Software Products and Electrical and Scientific Products
  • Class 10: Medical Instrument Products
  • Class 11: Environmental Control Instrument Products (lighting, heating, cooling, cooking).
  • Class 12: Vehicles and Products for locomotion by land, air or water
  • Class 13: Firearm Products.
  • Class 14: Jewelry Products
  • Class 15: Musical Instrument Products
  • Class 16: Paper and Printed Material Products
  • Class 17: Rubber Products
  • Class 18: Leather Products (not including clothing)
  • Class 19: Non-Metallic Building Material Products
  • Class 20: Furniture Products
  • Class 21: Houseware and Glass Products
  • Class 22: Ropes, Cordage and Fiber Products
  • Class 23: Yarns and Threads
  • Class 24: Fabrics and Textile Products
  • Class 25: Clothing and Apparel Products
  • Class 26: Lace, Ribbons, Embroidery and Fancy Goods
  • Class 27: Floor Covering Products
  • Class 28: Toys and Sporting Goods Products
  • Class 29: Meat and Processed Food Products
  • Class 30: Staple Food Products
  • Class 31: Natural Agricultural Products
  • Class 32: Light Beverage Products
  • Class 33: Wines and Spirits (not including beers)
  • Class 34: Smoker’s Products
  • Class 35: Advertising, Business and Retail Services
  • Class 36: Insurance and Financial Services
  • Class 37: Construction and Repair Services
  • Class 38: Communication Services
  • Class 39: Transportation and Storage Services
  • Class 40: Treatment and Processing of Materials Services
  • Class 41: Education and Entertainment Services
  • Class 42: Computer and Software Services and Scientific Services
  • Class 43: Restaurant and Hotel Services
  • Class 44: Medical and Beauty Services and Agricultural Services
  • Class 45: Personal, Legal and Social Services
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Processes Involved in Registering a Trademark in Nigeria

There are four (4) processes involved in registering a trademark in Nigeria. Each stage will be succinctly discussed below.

  • The Availability Stage
  • The Application Filing Stage
  • The Publication Stage
  • The Certification Stage

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1. The Availability Stage

This stage is also known as the clearance stage. It is the first stage in registering a trademark. The purpose of search is to determine whether or not the trademark is in conflict or too similar to any existing trademark. When conducting search, the applicant is to ensure that the proposed trademark does not infringe on the rights of another, see Section 18 of the Trade Marks Act, LFN 2004. This can be done by searching the Nigerian Trademarks Registry files in person. Thereafter, an application for the registration can proceed.

2. The Application Filing Stage

Once the search is conducted and the proposed trademark is deemed available, the next stage is the application filling stage. At this stage, the applicant is required to fill an application with the Trademarks Registry. Also, the following information are to be submitted;

  1. Applicant’s details including the phone number & email address of the applicant
  2. Trademark information
  3. The full range of goods covered or proposed to be covered by the trademark
  4. Power of Attorney/Authorization agent

The application is to be thoroughly scrutinized by the Trademarks Registry to ensure conformity with the existing laws and regulations. If there are any issues, the Registry may issue an objection or request for additional information.

3. The Publication Stage

After the Acceptance Form has been issued by the Registry, the trademark application will be published in the Trade Marks Journal, see Section 19 of the Trade Marks Act, LFN 2004. Section 63 of the Trade Marks LFN provides for the Trade Marks Journal. The publication is a public notification to interested parties who may have any reservations on the registration of the trademark. Any person who may have an objection to the registration of the trademark is required to file the same with the Registry within 2 months of the publication see Section 20 of the Trade Marks Act, LFN 2004.

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4. The Certification Stage

This stage succeeds the publication stage. In absence of oppositions, or if the oppositions have been resolved in favor of the applicant, the Trademarks Registry will issue a certificate denoting the registration of the trademark see Section 43 of the Trade Marks Act, LFN 2004. The process of trademark registration in Nigeria usually takes between 12 to 24 months, depending on various factors such as the number of objections and oppositions filed.

A registered trademark is valid for a period of seven (7) years from the date of filing prima facie. Thereafter, the trademark will be renewed every fourteen (14) years, see Section 23 of the Trade Marks Act, LFN 2004. The application for renewal should be made not less than three (3) months from the due date. A registered trademark is usually denoted with an ®. Such a registration symbol is applied on the trademark for the goods or services listed in the federal trademark registration.

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Conclusion

Trademark is a very delicate area of Intellectual Property, and as such should be handled wisely, in order to avoid the infringement of Intellectual Property Rights.

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References


[1] WIPO

[2] Intellectual Property by W. R Cornish

[3] Black’s Law Dictionary, 11th Edition

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