In this article, we will take you through the process of registering for trademark in Nigeria and how much it will cost you in order to get it done in the country this 2020.
Trademark registration in Nigeria is provided for by Trade Marks Act LFN 1990 and it is a very important way to protect and differentiate people’s trade symbols in the country. The registration of a trademark in Nigeria is the only way to protect a unique brand for goods or services in the market place and it is quite different from patent registration in that, the former is used to protect brands while the latter is used to protect inventions.
Just to be clear, what trademarks seek to protect are the names and/or designs of particular brands which when legally registered, is used to identify and differentiate a particular product or service from the others. It also prevents other brands/third parties from using the intellectual property of the proprietor without their consent.
Certain things that can be trademarked in the country include: name, slogan, shape, to mention but a few and in order to register a trademark in the country, you will need to visit the Commercial Law Department of the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria.
Registered trademark owners have the right to institute court action to block any contravention or unauthorized use of their trademarks by third parties and trademark owners also have the right to oppose any future trademark registration that may infringe on his or her own trademark.
HOW TO REGISTER A TRADEMARK IN NIGERIA
The process of registering a trademark involves three major steps which include the following:
SEARCH AND APPLICATION
This is the first step that an individual or organization must take in order to register their trademark in the country. This process involves briefing an agent, which of course should be a competent lawyer, with the trademark such as a name, the description of a symbol, logo or design that is to be registered.
Once this is done, a search is carried out, and if it does not conflict with any existing trademark, that is, if it is not too similar with an existing one, the process of applying for the registration of a trademark can be initiated.
As aforementioned, trademark registration can be done at the Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. Once you apply, the Registrar at the ministry will issue an acknowledgement establishing that your application has been received. Be informed that during the search and application process, the applicant is required to pay different fees to this effect.
The acceptance stage is the stage where the application for registration of trademark has been approved, and this can only be possible after a successful search has been conducted. To that effect, the Registry will accept, register the trademark and issue an Acceptance Letter to the applicant. This Acceptance Letter serves as the initial evidence that the trademark has been duly registered.
PUBLICATION AND CERTIFICATION
The publication and certification stage is the third and final stage. This has to do with the publication of a registered trademark in the trademark journal, followed by certification. Once there is an acceptance of the registration of a trademark in Nigeria, the Registrar will see to it that the notice of the application is published in the Trademark Journal. This notification will capture the full details of the application and the applicant.
Any individual or organization that notices that a trademark may infringe upon theirs, ultimately confusing or misleading the public, can protest to the Registrar to stop the trademark registration of an applicant and this is done by filing a notice of opposition in a set form.
The protest form contains the reason upon which a protest is made and the evidence to back it up. Upon completing the form, it is then sent to the Registrar of Trademarks and this must be done within two months of publication of notice in a journal. The Registrar then duly notified the applicant of any protest or opposition received.
Once the applicant has been informed of a protest, they may respond to that opposition within one month from the date of receipt of the notice from the Registrar. Any applicant who fails to respond to the opposition received with his or her own counter-statement may be deemed to have abandoned his or her application for trademark registration in Nigeria.
If however, the Registrar receives the response of the applicant stating why they are entitled to such trademark, the Registrar of Trademark shall constitute a Tribunal to determine the conflict in favour of one of the contending parties and where there is no opposition to the publication in the journal, or the opposition has been made and successfully resolved in favour of the applicant, the Registrar shall issue a Certificate of Registration of a trademark sought for by the applicant.
The issuing of a certificate shows the evidence that a trademark was duly registered and completed, and it empowers the proprietor or owner with the exclusive rights to use the trademark, while excluding and refraining other entities from doing so.
In a case where any other person or organization successfully challenges the applicant, opposing his or her trademark registration, the Registrar will issue a letter of refusal, denying the applicant from registering that trademark.
WHAT IS THE COST OF TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IN NIGERIA PRESENTLY?
One important question people ask when they are about to register their trademark is how much it would cost to do so. On the average, the amount you will pay to register a trademark in Nigeria falls between the price range of ₦150,000 – ₦200,000 and this will cover the costs filing for application, as well as the professional fee of the lawyer or agent that you have hired to handle this application. Kindly note that the price may vary at times, and thus is because the professional fee of various trademark lawyers or agents cannot be the same.
Also, the price for registering a trademark may depend on if such trademark is owned by a local or international company or by an individual. If the trademark is owned by a foreign company, a trademark lawyer or agent may charge higher fees than when he or she is dealing with a locally owned business/company.
The cost of trademark registration in Nigeria also covers the three fundamental stages of trademark registration, you may want to take note of that as well.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REGISTRATION OF A TRADEMARK IN NIGERIA
The following are the requirements for registering a trademark in Nigeria:
- Logo (This may include Words and/or Images)
- Name of the Applicant
- Contact details of the Applicant
- Power of Attorney which appoints an agent to conduct such registration (This must be an accredited agent or competent lawyer that can help you prepare the power of attorney).
REQUIREMENTS FOR TRADEMARK RENEWAL IN NIGERIA
Trademark in Nigeria is valid for a period of seven (7) years, after which it must be renewed. The requirements for renewal of trademark in the country include the following:
- Trademark Certificate
- Power of Attorney appointing the agent, and
- Payment of the prescribed fee.
All these are very important when you want to renew your trademark registration in the country, kindly take note.