Trademark is what distinguishes a particular organization, their products from other akin organizations and products in the same business sphere. This mark on a brand is very essential for companies and organisation doing engagements in any business category in Nigeria. This write-up provides what’s involved in trademark registration, the costs, and subsequently where to get the work done.
The law in Nigeria under the Trademarks Act Chapter 436 of 1990, provides for the registration of Trademark officially with the Commercial Law Department in the Ministry of Trade and Investment in Nigeria. You can also register a slogan, name, logo, domain name or website name, colour, e.t.c as your Trademark online in Nigeria. This post outlines the official procedures and requirements for filing for trademark registration in Nigeria.
A trademark or brand name is an image, symbol, word, signature, number, and design that a company registers to speak for an item, products or an organization, and to distinguish it from other products or organizations in the same business. A trademark is always given by the authorized government agency to be possessed by an individual, a business association or any legitimate element. Additionally, trademark has wide applications on the business it’s registered with. It can be a word or words, symbol, picture or signature that is situated on a brand name; trademark is also a unique mark on an organization’s products. Trademarks is a distinguishing symbol of an organization, as some also prefer putting on their structures and in all their assets.
Trademark Registrations in Nigeria
Before going about the trademark registration process, you must be sure of where to start from. This I mean where to send your application forms to. It is important to note that there is only one body that is responsible for all trademark registration, issuance and management.
In Nigeria, the government agency that is in charge with the responsibility of registering trademarks is the Trademarks, Patents And Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department, Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Investment. Applications are made to the Registrar of Trade Marks.
The Trademark Department is under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and they are charged with the duty of dealing with applications for the registration of trademarks, and other related matters on this.
Moreover, the legislation which governs the registration of trademarks in Nigeria, is the Trade Marks Act (and the Trade Mark Regulations made pursuant to it).
Eligibility and Requirements for Trademark Registration
A trademark registration is not a unintentional act where someone can just do for the heck of it. There are criteria an individual or an organization must meet before being issued the certification. The write-up below will highlight the eligibility to register a trademark in Nigeria.
- Under the Nigerian law, only accredited individuals/companies can register trademarks. So you should hire the services of accredited agents for this process.
- A unique means of identity: logo, brand, heading, label, device, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, or any combination will be required.
- The name of a company, individual, or firm, represented in a special or particular manner.
- The signature of the applicant for registration will be required as one of the essential particular.
- An invented word or words that is distinguishable from other brands. The word or words should have no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods.
- Any other distinctive mark or symbol is entertained.
Requirements for Filing a Trademark in Nigeria
- Honest information of the applicant which must include the following: full name(s), nationality and physical address of the applicant.
- The Information/details about the trademark.
- A clear neat and separate representation of the Trademark. Please note that for Trademarks filed online, a soft copy in .JPEG format at a minimum of 1200 dpi will be requested with a dimension of 120px by 100px.
- If you want to file for a trademark on your goods in Nigeria, note that the International Classification of Goods is the standard used in Nigeria.
- Power of Attorney or signature of authorized agent simply signed, with the full details of name(s), address (es) and nationality of the applicant(s). Also, it must contain full name(s) and capacity of the signatory.
Now you know the intricacies in registering for a trademark in Nigeria, let’s now look at how to do the main thing, which is the registration.
Application Process: How to Register a Trademark in Nigeria
Here is a step by step guide to apply and obtain a trademark in the country;
Step 1: Brand Availability
First, you will do a search to determine whether there is no other registered marks that are similar to your proposed mark. This will help you to have a distinctive mark for your business or organization. As there are no two same trademark, you should go to the Trademark registry and obtain the catalog of all the registered marks so as to avoid subsequent disqualification due to duplication.
Step 2: Letter of Acceptance
After having a unique mark, you are now cleared to apply for the registration. You will be required to submit all the necessary documents and wait for the approval. After verification, the registry will issue a “Letter of Acceptance” that serves as an approval in principle. The mark will be advertised in the trademarks journal highlighting some information about the product and the company.
Step 3: Application for Certificate
Next, you will have to wait for two months from the date of your proposed mark advertisement on the Trademark Journal. During this time, an authentication will be made on it, and the mark is subject to verification by other registered trademarks. This process is done so as to verify and distinguish the mark from other existing trademarks. If at the end of the two months your mark is accepted, you may then apply to the Registrar for a Trademark Certificate.
Step 4: Issuance of Certificate
The Registrar of Nigerian Trademark agency will issue the applicant with a certificate of registration. The Registration Certificate will reflect the date of registration, some of the applicant’s details and the product it covers.
The duration a trademark certificate in Nigeria will remain valid is a period of 7 years, and then for further renewable 14-year periods. Once the initial registration has expired, an application for renewal should be made not less than three months from the date of expiry. However, all the necessary information is stated on the certificate.
Cost of Trademark Registration in Nigeria
A great many people often need to realize the amount it cost to enlist a brand name or trademark in Nigeria. In response to this, the cost of trademark registration incorporates the documenting expenses and the expert charge of the legal counselor or agent taking care of such application. The cost might be contrasted most occasions, mulling over that the expert fee and expense of different agents can’t be the equivalent.
However, the total cost, including the professional fee for registering a trademark in Nigeria, may range between N100,000 (about $300) to N180,000 (about $500). The ownership of the trademark, whether locally or internationally is another factor that may determine the total cost of trademark registration. In the case of being foreign-owned, a trademark attorney may charge a higher amount than the ones owned in the country.
- An application for Trade-mark registration is filed by way of an instruction to a local Attorney/Agent in Nigeria, whose responsibility is to file and process such applications at the Nigerian Registry of Trade Marks, Patents, Designs and Copyright.
- Next, the Registrar then issues an official acknowledgement which reflects the official number given and filing date of the application.
- A preliminary thorough search is carried out so as to validate the uniqueness from already existing and pending registrations. This is to avoid possible conflicts with prior registered or pending Trademarks thereby not making a mistake.
- Once the registrar validates the uniqueness of the trademark and is acceptable for registration, the applicant will be given a letter/notice of acceptance.
- All trade-mark applications under compulsion must be advertised in the Nigerian Trademark Journal, and would be open to opposition and criticism for a maximum period of two (2) months from the date of advertisement.
- If there is objection received within the specified period, you will be informed on the necessary steps to take and if there are no objections, the Registrar will proceed with issuing the applicant with a valid certificate of registration of his or her trademark name.
In conclusion, registration of trademark is one of the prerequisites for successful business organizations. It gives the company and their products a recognition and distinctiveness from other in the same business line. That’s the size of this write-up, as we’ve been able to explicate what’s involved in trademark registration, the costs and the procedures to do the application.