Select Country

Select a country to view information on local trademark law


Countries
A-E  F-J  K-O  P-T  U-Z

Multinational Agreements
AIPO/OAPI  ARIPO 
EUIPO  WIPO

Services Firms

Check IP services firms here

Feedback

Please report us if any of this content needs an update


Law Firms and
IP Consultancies

For legal advice please contact:

Lexx & Sophy
Lagos, Nigeria (NG)
More info

Get Listed

Promote your expertise to IP professionals worldwide.
read more

Nigeria (NG)

Print this page
07-12-2016 (Newsletter Issue 13/16)
New Defense Mechanism Against Online Trademark Infringement
Trademark owners have a new defense mechanism available in the fight against online infringement and counterfeiting in Nigeria. The Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention ETC) Act, 2015 deals with a whole range of cyber issues such as computer fraud and cyber- terrorism, as well as trade mark matters.

Section 25, which is entitled ‘Cybersquatting’, makes it an offence to use ‘on the internet or any other computer network’ any ‘name, business name, trademark, domain name or other word or phrase’ that is ‘registered, owned or in use by’ another party, in cases where that use was unauthorised, intentional and ‘for the purpose of interfering with’ the lawful use. A conviction can lead to imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of up to Naira 5,000,000 (approximately USD 25,000), or both. Interestingly, the court can also order the offender to ‘relinquish’ the trade mark or name to the ‘rightful owner’.

What this means is that owners of registered and other trademarks or names can now lodge criminal complaints against online infringers, and possibly even have registrations transferred to them. The benefit of criminal proceedings, of course, is that the trademark owner does not incur legal costs. It needs to be seen whether the Nigerian authorities are willing and able to prosecute offences of this nature.

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa


09-29-2015 (Newsletter Issue 15/15)
Digitisation of Trademark Records
The Nigerian Registry of Trademarks, Patents & Designs recently issued an important notice dealing with their data capture project. According to the notice, the long-overdue digitisation of the Nigerian trade mark database will start on October 1, 2015, despite a number of ‘false starts’.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is involved in the process, and a company called Trigyn Technologies has been appointed as the IT service provider.

According to the notice, the aims of the project are wide-ranging. It is hoped that the project will ‘modernise and accelerate work process and service delivery’, increase ‘the credibility of documents issued by the Registrar’, ‘facilitate the conduct of electronic searches’, and ‘boost the confidence of investors in the Nigerian economy.’ The notice ‘implores’ all trade mark owners and IP agents to ‘demonstrate understanding and co-operation while the process lasts, and to ensure that all their records with the Registry are promptly updated and/or renewed on /or before September 28, 2015.’

It is unclear exactly what ‘updating’ the Registry has in mind. It is assumed that there is nothing that trade mark owners need to do at this stage.

Further, it can be reported that the Nigerian Registrar stated in a recent meeting the following:

- Trade mark acceptance notices will in future be issued within one month of filing. This will apply to all applications, including those for marks for which product approvals or registrations are required under the National Agency for Food & Drug Control (NAFDAC), such as applications in classes 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 29, 30, 32 and 33.
- Trade mark journals will in future be issued more frequently.
- The Registry will look into the possibility of speeding up the issuance of certificates of registration, as it is aware of the fact that fake certificates are sometimes issued because of the delays.

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa


09-02-2014 (Newsletter Issue 13/14)
Trademark Application Procedures Tightened Up
The Nigerian Registrar of Trademarks (and Patents and Designs) is conducting a campaign to tighten up procedures throughout the Registry.

Under the Regulations, official actions are to be notified in writing, and unless within two months the applicant (or agent) applies for a hearing or makes a considered reply in writing the application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn. For many years that time limit has not been enforced and responses have been entertained after substantial delay. The Registrar has now made it clear that responses, received after the statutory term, will be disregarded and the application treated as abandoned.

The Regulations contain provisions for this time limit, like others, to be extended at the Registrar’s discretion and it is generally accepted law that an authority such as the Registrar must actually exercise her discretion, and may not pre-determine that extensions of time will never be granted. Evidently also, pending applications where responses are already overdue will have to be considered on a reasonable basis.

The above points are under discussion with the Registrar. It is nevertheless noted for general information that, in future, extensions of time beyond the prescribed two months will at best be difficult to secure without very good reasons and (predictably involving hearings), expensive as well.

The good news from Nigeria on the Intellectual Property fron includes:
1) A general strategiy to improve the operations and records in the Industrial Property Office.
2) The enhancement of copright protection.

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa


02-18-2014 (Newsletter Issue 3/14)
Intellectual Property Automated System Launched
The Nigerian Federal Government launched an Intellectual Property Automated System (IPAS) on 24 January 2014 in order to improve the integrity and standards of Intellectual Property applications. The IPAS is a world acclaimed system of automated processing of applications for the registration of trademarks, patents and industrial designs.

Source: www.fmi.gov.ng and www.nlipw.com


04-02-2013 (Newsletter Issue 4/13)
New IP Office Practise
The IP Registry in Nigeria will no longer tolerate delays in responding to trade mark registration oppositions. According to the circular, the Registry will not grant an extension of time more than once and not for a longer period than 30 days.

Further, in respect of registered designs, the Registry now requires applicants to describe the novelty in their design applications. FORM 2 must forthwith contain the name(s) of the signatory who signs on behalf of the company or Agent submitting applications to the Registry.

For more information, please access the circular here

Source: Aluko & Oyebode, Nigeria


06-06-2011 (Newsletter Issue 8/11)
TM Online Registration Possible
The Commercial Law Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Nigeria has launched its online registration portal for registration of trademarks, patents and designs.

The service provides:
- Online search application
- Online registration of trademarks, patent and design
- Online payments for services
- Online application for certificates

For more information please click on www.iponig.com


Source: www.iponig.com

05-09-2010 (Newsletter Issue 10/10)
New Trade Mark Journal Released
The local Registry of Nigeria has published a new Trade Mark Journal. Interested parties may object to published marks within a non extendible two month period (expiring on 31 May 2010).
The Nigerian Registry releases its journals only annually.


Source: www.afro-ip.blogspot.com

Legal basis is the Trade Marks Act no. 29 of 1967 (Chapter 436, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990) and the Trade Marks Regulations, 1967. Since 1967, other Acts have also been drafted, for instance in 1990 and 2004. However, the 1967 Act remains into force considering the fact that no subsequent act has published since then.
Member of the Paris Convention and the TRIPS.

Nice classification, 10th edition
Initially, the Trade Mark Act of 1967 provided for the registration of trademarks in relation to goods only. In 2007, a directive incorporating the registration of service mark was issued. In other words, it is now possible to file a trademark for goods and services.
Section 9 (1) of the Trade Marks Act of 1967 provides that a registrable trademark must contain or consist of at least one the following essential particulars:
a) The name of a company, individual, or firm, represented in a special way or particular manner;
b) The signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in his business;
c) An invented word or invented words;
d) A word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods, and not being according to its ordinary signification a geographical name or a surname;
e) Any other distinctive mark.

Combinations of colours and single colours can be registered in Nigeria provided that they are distinctive or have acquired distinctiveness through intensive use.

Though the Registry accepts applications for the registration of certification and collective marks in Nigeria, however they are registered as ordinary marks and there is no endorsement on the certificates of registration that are issued by the Registry to indicate whether they are certification or collective marks.
The application is filed at the Nigerian Registry of Trade Marks, Patents, Designs and Copyright.
Nigeria is a single class jurisdiction and a separate application must be filed for each class, in which the applicant desires to register his mark, irrespective of the number of classes. In other words, application is "per trademark per class".
A power of attorney/authorisation of agent form is necessary for local attorney or agent who file for the application.
After the filing of the application, an official 'Acknowledgement Receipt' which reflects the official number and filing date of the application is issued by the Registrar.
The Registrar then carries a preliminary search for distinctiveness from existing and pending registrations. That is, the application is examined by considering potential conflicts with prior registered or pending marks. Inherent unregistrability of the mark is also taken into consideration.
A letter 'Notice of Acceptance' is furnished to the applicant if the trademark is accepted for registration.
The trademark application is then advertised in the Nigerian Trade mark Journal.
If the trademark application is not opposed within the specified period or no objections are sustained, a certificate of registration is then issued by the Registrar.
The date of initial filing is taken as the date of registration (i.e date of filing acknowledgement) on the Registration Certificate.
Applicants should bear in mind that, although the application procedure has recently been reviewed and e-filing has been introduced, the registration procedure needs several years to complete.
It has also recently been uncovered, that many trademark applications have actually never been filed. Some corrupt agents have, instead of paying the official filing fees, bribed an official in the Trade Mark Office to receive a false 'Acknowledgement Receipt'. Applicants are well advised to keep copies of all official documents, including the receipts for the payment of the official taxes.
National:
Any objection to the registration of an application advertised in the Trade Marks Journal must be lodged by way of a Notice of opposition within 2 months from the date the application was published in the journal and shall include the grounds of opposition. Service of the notice of opposition must be done through the office of the Registrar; accordingly, on receipt of the notice of opposition as filed, the Registrar is mandated to serve a copy to the Applicant, who has 1 month from the date of service to file a response in the form of a counterstatement. Failure to file a counterclaim within the prescribed one month will result in the application being deemed abandoned.
A trademark registration is valid for an initial period of 7 years from the date of application. The trademark registration can thereafter be indefinitely renewed for a period of 14 years. An application for renewal should be made not less than 3 months from the due date.
It is not unusual for trademark applications to become due for renewal before they are even registered. In such cases, depending on the stage of the registration procedures, applicants are well advised to pay the renewal fee before the issuance of the registration certificate.
There is no provision in law regarding the grace period for trademark renewals. Late renewal may be filed anytime after the due renewal date provided that the late renewal fee is paid and the mark has not been lawfully removed from the Register of Trademarks.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
Pre-registration use is not a requirement for registration.
A trademark may be removed from the Register on the grounds of non-use on an application by any person if it has not been used in Nigeria for a continuous period of 5 years or if the trademark was registered without any bona fide intention of use and if there has been no bona fide use of the trademark by the proprietor up to the date one month before the date of the application. Subsequent use of the trademark can restore protection if no party has requested cancellation due to non-use in the meantime.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
The official fees from first filing to registration of a trademark are about NGN 47,287. On-line application for registration of trademark is now available in Nigeria. The on-line application is faster as the acknowledgment form is issued immediately on filing and the acceptance and publication of the mark is faster. A surcharge of NGN 1,500 is payable for on-line application (in addition to the official fee).

Currency Converter   (Source for exchange-rates: bankenverband.de)
Find out how much this is in your own currency and convert!

Initial currency

Amount
left-to-right wrrow
convert into
Target currency

Amount

Practical details on licensing procedures, requirements and effectiveness are available in our publication on this topic here.
Search type First class Add. class
Word Mark Search (availability) 490,00 € 440,00 € 
Word Mark Search (identical) 460,00 € 420,00 € 

The Prices above are SMD Group Search Fees
Country Index is a free service of SMD Group. We thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided.

Country Survey
09-14-2016
IPvocate Africa Law Firm Cabinet d’Avocats, Mauritius, Mauritius

08-07-2013
WizeCounzel Law Firm, Lagos, Nigeria

07-30-2013
Lexx & Sophy, Lagos, Nigeria

09-09-2011
Lexx & Sophy, Lagos, Nigeria
Stillwaters Law Firm, Lagos, Nigeria
WizeCounzel Law Firm, Lagos, Nigeria



Lexx & Sophy

3rd Floor, 27 Commercial Ave., Sabo, Yaba
Lagos
Nigeria (NG)

Federal Ministry of Trade & Investment, Commercial Law Department
Block D
Old Secretariat
Garki Abuja, F.C.T
90001
Nigeria
Tel +234 92 34 02 82
Fax +234 12 34 15 41
Mail info@fmiti.gov.ng
www.fmiti.gov.ng