As a small business owner, you’re probably familiar with the need to protect your tangible business assets such as equipment, vehicles and premises. But there are other assets which might not be so visible but are also quite critical to your business and therefore also requires protection. Today we will be discussing the importance and types of Intellectual Property (IP) protection available to businesses.
Intellectual Property (IP) is everything that you, your business and your employees have created using your intellect. It covers everything from your content, brand, logo, inventions and anything that could turn into products or services.
There are a different ways that you can protect your intellectual property in Nigeria. Here are the three main categories of intellectual property protection:
● Copyrights: typically protects content
● Trademarks: typically protects your brand
● Patents: typically protects your invention
Now let’s break these down to determine what type of protection you need to file as a small business owner
A trademark is a word, phrase, name, design, or symbol (or a combination of those elements) that identifies the source of a product or service. Its purpose is to distinguish a business and its products or services from competitors. Trademarks can be a company’s name, product names, logos, and social media handles etc.
Trademarks keep competition from copying or infringing on your business. It also lets your customers know they can expect consistency quality from your business. Your business can sue for infringements when someone uses your trademark without authorization. Trademarks last for 10 years originally, and you can renew them as long as you’re using them.
Trademark registration in Nigeria involves submission of your invention claim through the Trademarks, Patents And Designs Registry. It’s important to consult professionals during the trademark process because not every word or logo can be a registered trademark. Kudi Konsult is accredited to offer Trademark services in Nigeria
A patent keeps others from being able to make or sell a particular invention in exchange for disclosing the details of the invention to the Patent and Trademark Office. Once a patent is granted, the inventor is allowed limited time, usually 15 to 20 years, to be the sole controller of an invention. This means the inventor can make or sell a product, or license it out for others to make and sell the product, and have control over how the product is made. Business owners and inventors can use a patent as collateral to receive funding. You can also purchase and sell patents for revenue.
Patents typically cover tangible things, such as software processes, product designs, and other inventions, a good example is how Coca-Cola has patented the unique shape of its original bottle.
Obtaining a Patent in Nigeria involves submission of your invention claim through the Trademarks, Patents And Designs Registry. The process can be quite complicated and its essential for the inventor to work with a with a patent agent or attorney, that has enough industry experience. Kudi Konsult is accredited to offer Patent registration services in Nigeria.
Copyrights safeguard content by preventing unauthorised duplication or use of the original content. While many associate copyright protection with the creative industries like music, art, film, and literature, it can also apply to business assets like website copy, blog content, marketing materials, and even computer code. Copyright protection begins the moment a piece of work is created, whether it’s through writing, photography, drawing, or any other method.
To get protection, the work needs to be original to the author. It doesn’t have to be a totally new concept; however, it has to be tangible, as in it has to be seen, viewed, perceived or readable by machinery (like software). A copyright lasts for the life of the author, plus 70 years after the author’s death. If you have a joint work or are on a team that’s creating content, the 70 years starts at the end of the last author’s death.
Copyrights are relatively easier to register and in Nigeria this is done through the e-registration portal of the Nigerian Copyright Commission. Kudi Konsult can assist with filing your Copyrights in Nigeria.
We have discussed the importance and ways of protecting your intellectual assets and in conclusion its important to also note that there is no organization in charge of monitoring infringements of your IP. The job of enforcing and policing your IP solely depends on you and if you find someone infringing on your IP, you can take the following actions:
●Send takedown notices for violations on the Internet
●Send a cease and desist letter directly to the infringer
●Sue infringers in a competent court of law
Kudi Konsult is Nigerias No 1 Platform for all your Business Support Needs. On one platform you can get Business Registration (CAC), Trademark Registration, Business Plan Writing, NAFDAC Registration, Website Development, Logo Design, DPR Registration, Loan Support Services etc.