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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IN NIGERIA
Q: WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?
A: A trademark is a symbol or a sign which differentiates the goods and services of one business from another one.
Q: WHAT ARE THE MARKS THAT CAN BE REGISTERED?
A: You can register both words and logos. This could be either word only, logo only or word and logo.
Q: I HAVE REGISTERED MY BUSINESS WITH THE CORPORATE AFFAIRS COMMISSION, ISN’T THAT ENOUGH TO PROTECT MY BRAND?
A: The Corporate Affairs Commission deal with registration of business entities and do not guarantee protection of your brand or trade name.
Q: WHAT IS THE NEED FOR TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IN NIGERIA?
A: It gives your trademark legal protection. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.
Q: CAN MY TRADEMARK IN NIGERIA ENJOY PROTECTION OUTSIDE NIGERIA?
A: No, Trademarks all over the world are tied to each locality, so your trademark registered in Nigeria can only be protected in Nigeria. If you need protection other countries you will have have to apply in that jurisdiction.
Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IN NIGERIA?
A: The requirements are as follows:
- Trademark Information: The full range of goods or services covered or proposed to be covered by the trade mark. A separate application is filed for each classification of goods or services for which the trade mark is to be registered.
- Application processed by an Authorised Agent: Power of Attorney appointing an agent to conduct such registration (an accredited agent/lawyer may help to prepare the power of attorney)
- Trademark word(s) and/or logo
- Name of the Applicant
- Address of the Applicant
- Phone Number & Email Address of the Applicant
Q: WHICH DEPARTMENT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TRADEMARK REGISTRATION IN NIGERIA?
A: The trademark is usually registered through the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria.
Q: WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR FILING?
A: Trademarks can now be filed in Nigeria electronically through Local IP Agents (Kudi Konsult is an accredited agent empowered to handle Trademark Registration In Nigeria). The Electronic filing was introduced to reduce the hassles that come with manual processing of applications.
Q: WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP?
A: The first step is for the, person or organization, desiring to register a trademark to brief an Agent, (Kudi Konsult is an accredited agent empowered to handle Trademark Registration In Nigeria) with the trademark or the description of a symbol or logo or design to be registered.
Q: WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP IN THE PROCESS OF TRADEMARK REGISTRATION?
A: A search is conducted on the trademark, and if it is not in conflict or too similar to any existing trademark, an application for the registration can proceed.
Q: WHAT IS NEXT AFTER A SUCCESSFUL SEARCH?
A: The Trademark will be filed and the Registry will issue an Acknowledgement Letter and subsequently accept, register the trademark and issue an Acceptance Letter to the applicant. The Acceptance Letter is initial evidence that the trademark has been duly registered.
Q: WHAT IS THE PUBLICATION ALL ABOUT?
A: Upon the acceptance of the registration of a trademark, the Registrar will ensure the notice of the application is published in the Trademark Journal. Such notification will include the full details of the application and the applicant.
Q: WHAT IS THE VALIDITY OF A TRADEMARK?
A: A Trademark is valid for an initial period of 7 years.
Q: WHAT IS THE PERIOD OF RENEWAL?
A: Trademarks are renewed for a subsequent period of 14 years and should be applied for 3 months before due date.
Q: WHAT ARE THE CLASSES OF TRADEMARK?
A: Nigeria presently follows the International Classification of the Nice Agreement 1957. There are 45 Classes under Trademark Registration. Class 1 to 34 is for goods while Class 35 to 45 is for services. You will need to identify the particular goods and/ or services you intend to use the trademark for.
Q: AFTER REGISTERING MY TRADEMARK IN ONE CLASS, CAN I USE IT FOR OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES?
A: No, after registering a trademark in a particular class, you can only use the mark for goods or services that are similar or identical in that class. You must have separate applications for each class of goods and services you are interested in.
Q: IS THERE ROOM FOR AMENDMENT AFTER FILING MY TRADEMARK?
A: Yes, you may amend your trademark.
Q: CAN MY TRADEMARK LOGO BE IN ANY COLOUR?
A: Yes, you can choose to represent your logo in any colour you wish. However, representing the logo in black and white will protect it in other colours.
Q: WHAT CAN I DO IF SOMEONE ELSE USES MY TRADEMARK WITHOUT MY PERMISSION?
A: This amounts to infringement of trademark and there are several options available to you. They include filing for opposition within 60 days of the publication in the trademark journal against the registration of a similar or identical mark, which is likely to cause confusion; applying to the court for a grant of search and seize orders; writing a cease-and-desist letter to the infringer.