Do you want to start a business in Nigeria, or do you currently have one with a logo you want to protect? If this is the case, it is critical to understand how to trademark your logo to protect your brand identification and prohibit others from using it without your permission. In Nigeria, trademarking a logo is a legal process that grants you exclusive rights to use the logo and forbids others from using it commercially without your permission. This article explains how to trademark a logo in Nigeria.
A trademark is any term, phrase, symbol, or design that distinguishes your products or services from others on the market. In Nigeria, the Trademarks, Patents, and Designs Registry governs trademark registration. They are also in charge of issuing trademarks and enforcing trademark laws in the country.
I will walk you through the process of trademarking a logo in Nigeria in this article. We will discuss the significance of conducting a trademark search, the requirements for filing a trademark application, the examination and approval process, and the publishing and opposition procedures. You will better grasp how to protect your brand identification in Nigeria.
Conducting a Trademark Search in Nigeria
Conducting a trademark search before filing a trademark application for your logo in Nigeria is critical. A trademark search is determining whether your logo is similar to an existing registered trademark. This is critical to avoid future trademark infringement difficulties and legal battles.
A trademark search in Nigeria is extremely simple and done online. The initial step is to visit the Nigerian Trademarks, Patents, and Designs Registry’s website. Once there, you can search the database for existing trademarks using keywords such as your company’s name or logo design elements.
During the trademark search, watch for comparable trademarks that may be confusingly similar to your logo. This covers identical logos and logos that share design or linguistic similarities. It’s also a good idea to look for trademarks registered in similar industries.
A trademark search can assist you in identifying any existing trademarks that may represent an issue for registering your logo. Second, it saves you time and money because it prevents your application from rejection due to similarities to an existing trademark. Finally, it can assure you that your mark is distinctive and protected.
How to File a Trademark Application in Nigeria
The next step in trademarking your logo in Nigeria is to file a trademark application after doing a trademark search. A trademark application is a legally binding document that officially registers your logo as a trademark and grants you exclusive use rights in Nigeria.
You will need some basic information and papers to register a trademark application in Nigeria. This comprises the applicant’s name and address (an individual or a firm), a clear representation of the logo, and a list of the goods or services for which you will use the trademark.
Once you’ve acquired all of the essential information, you may file the trademark application online at the Nigerian Trademarks, Patents, and Designs Registry’s website. During the filing process, you must also pay the application fee. The Registrar of Trademarks reviews the trademark application. The Nigerian Trademarks Journal publishes the approved trademark.
It is crucial to understand that the trademark registration procedure in Nigeria can take up to 24 months. During that period, anyone who believes the trademark application infringes on their rights can dispute it. If someone files an opposition, you will hold a hearing to assess the legality of the opposition.
Publication and Opposition of Trademark Filing
Following the examination and approval of your trademark application, the next stage is publication. Publication is the act of making your trademark public in the Nigerian Trademarks Journal. This notifies the public of your trademark’s registration. It allows others to object to the registration if they believe it infringes on their trademark rights.
The Nigerian Trademarks Journal publishes the trademark for two months during the publication procedure in Nigeria. Anyone who believes your trademark infringes on their rights can submit an objection to the Registrar of Trademarks during this time.
An opposition is a legal procedure in which someone objects to registering a trademark. They must lodge the opposition within two months after the trademark’s publication in the Nigerian Trademarks Journal. The party filing the objection must show that they have a previous claim to the trademark or that the trademark will likely cause confusion with their existing trademark.
When someone submits an opposition, a hearing establishes if the opposition is valid. If the opposition is successful, the court denies the trademark registration while the failure means you will complete the trademark registration.
If nobody files an opposition during the publication period, the agency grants trademark registration. They also issue a certificate of registration to the applicant.
Requirements for the Registration of a Logo in Nigeria
The basic requirements for registering a logo or trademark in Nigeria are as follows.
- A copy of the logo.
- The name and address of the registering company.
- The applicant’s phone number and email address
- A list of the items that require the registration of the logo.
Trademark Registration in Nigeria
The registration of the trademark is the final step in trademarking your logo in Nigeria. The legal procedure for getting a certificate of registration from the Nigerian Trademarks, Patents, and Designs Registry. Registration grants you exclusive rights to use your trademark in Nigeria.
You can file for trademark registration once your trademark has been published in the Nigerian Trademarks Journal and there are no oppositions. To apply for registration, you must present a copy of the Nigerian Trademarks Journal containing your trademark’s publication.
Following payment of the registration fee, the Registry will issue a registration certificate containing important information such as the owner’s name and address, a description of the trademark, the registration date, and the goods or services for which the trademark is registered.
It is vital to note that your trademark registration in Nigeria is valid for seven years, following which you can renew the registration for another 14 years. It is also critical to utilize your trademark continuously in Nigeria, as failing to do so for five years can result in its removal from the Register.
How Much Does It Cost to Trademark a Logo in Nigeria?
The cost of trademark registration in Nigeria includes filing fees and the professional charge of the lawyer or agency that handles the application. Most times, the price may change because the professional fees of various trademark lawyers or agents can differ. However, the overall cost, including the professional fee for trademark registration, may generally range between ₦180,000 and ₦250,000.
Another aspect that influences the overall cost of trademark registration is whether the brand is owned by a local or foreign corporation or individual. If the trademark is owned by a foreign entity, a trademark attorney may charge a more significant fee than if it is owned locally. Every prospective applicant should contact an accredited agency to negotiate the overall registration cost.
Meanwhile, the above cost must include all three crucial stages of trademark registration: search, acceptance, and certification. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that any applicant who desires to designate a single agent to complete the entire process from start to finish should clearly say this to such an agency and bargain for the proper payment for the whole process.
Steps for Registration of Logo in Nigeria
The following is a summary of the trademark registration procedure:
Conducting preliminary research
Before submitting an application for registration, a search must be undertaken to identify the availability of a logo to avoid the Registrar rejecting the application due to a conflict with an existing trademark. In addition, searching enables the applicant to make an informed judgment about the treatment of logos similar to those requested for registration. The applicant may adjust the proposed logo appropriately to avoid confused identification, which can harm a company’s goodwill.
You must file a trademark registration application with the Registry, which is subject to the payment of a fee. The Registrar will issue an Acknowledgement Form upon receipt of the application, confirming the receipt of the application by the Registry and the temporary number assigned to the trademark, awaiting registration and issuance of a permanent registration number.
Publication and approval
When the Registrar determines that the proposed logo meets all the standards and is registrable, he or she issues a Letter of Acceptance approving its usage. The logo is then published in the Trademarks Office’s journal so that any interested party can file a notice of opposition to the registration promptly.
Protection of the Registered Trademarks in Nigeria
After successfully registering your trademark in Nigeria, you must defend it to guarantee that others do not use it without your permission. In Nigeria, there are numerous options to protect your trademark, including:
Monitoring: It is critical to watch out for any unauthorized use of your trademark in the market. You can accomplish this by conducting regular searches of the Nigerian Trademarks Journal and keeping track of any firms or individuals using a trademark like yours.
Enforcement: If you identify any unauthorized use of your trademark, you must move quickly to stop it. This may include mailing a cease and desist letter or suing the infringing party.
Renewal: As previously stated, you must renew your trademark registration every 14 years to keep it valid. If you do not renew your registration, your trademark will be removed from the register, making it open to infringement.
Licensing: You can also protect your trademark by permitting people to use it. This gives you control over how your trademark is used and ensures that it is consistent with your brand identity.
Renewal of a Nigerian trademark
Renewal of your registered trademark is vital in ensuring it stays valid and protected in Nigeria. Once your trademark is registered, you have 7 years to use it exclusively in Nigeria. After this time, you must renew your trademark registration every 14 years to keep it valid.
To renew your trademark, submit a renewal application and the appropriate renewal cost to the Nigerian Trademarks, Patents, and Designs Registry. To avoid lapses in protection, submit your renewal application and pay before the expiration of your trademark registration.
The trademark owner’s name and address, the trademark registration number, and the goods or services for which the trademark is registered should all be included in the renewal application. Once the renewal cost is paid, the Registry will issue a new registration certificate with a new expiry date.
Suppose you renew your trademark registration after the stipulated time frame. In that case, the agency will delete your trademark from the register, and you will lose the exclusive right to use it in Nigeria. As a result, it is critical to keep track of your trademark registration’s expiration date and submit your renewal application on time.
Common Reasons for Trademark Registration Refusal
An adequately filed trademark may be refused for the following reasons:
- First, it does not meet the definition of a trademark.
- It is comparable or nearly identical to an existing logo or any logo that is the subject of an earlier-filed application.
- It is likely to mislead and confuse people.
- It is against public order or morality.
Unless authorized by the State or such government body, it is identical or a copy of a symbol or emblem adopted by the State, intergovernmental organization, or international convention.
Eligibility for Copyright Protection in Nigeria
Understanding the qualifying conditions for copyright protection in Nigeria is critical before copyrighting a logo. Copyright protection is awarded in Nigeria to original and fixed works in a tangible medium.
Originality requires that your logo be your own design rather than a duplicate of someone else’s work. If your logo is a forgery of someone else’s work, copyright does not protect it. Furthermore, your logo must be distinctive and not a popular design or idea that others have already utilized.
Fixation in tangible media necessitates the presence of your logo in a physical form that can be seen or touched. Digital data, drawings, and prints are all examples of this. Therefore, before your logo may be protected by copyright, you must fix it in this medium.
You cannot copy ideas, concepts, or theories. You can only apply copyright to express certain ideas, concepts, or views. For example, if you have a logo idea that needs development, you can’t copyright it. Before the logo can be eligible for copyright protection, it must first be created and fixed in a tangible medium.
The Advantages of Copyrighting a Logo in Nigeria
Copyrighting a logo in Nigeria has various benefits, including protecting your intellectual property and ensuring that your logo is only used as you see fit.
1. Copyrighting your logo grants you exclusive rights to use it as you see fit. This implies you can prevent anyone from utilizing your logo without your consent. If someone attempts to use your logo without your permission, you have legal reasons to sue them.
2. Copyrighting your logo can lead to licensing options. This means that you can charge others to use your logo. Licensing your logo can be a terrific method to generate money without doing any more work.
3. Copyrighting your logo can boost its worth. A copyrighted mark can increase its value to potential purchasers, investors, or partners. This is because it demonstrates that your logo is one-of-a-kind and legally protected.
4. Copyrighting your logo might assist you in developing a strong brand identification. A copyright-protected logo can help you build a business identity that others recognize and appreciate.
5. Copyrighting your logo in Nigeria gives you exclusive rights to use it, licensing opportunities, improved value, and stronger brand identification. These advantages can aid in protecting your intellectual property and ensuring that your logo is only used as you see fit.
Read Also: How Much Does a Logo Cost in Nigeria?
Copyright Enforcement in Nigeria
The Trademark Agency must strictly enforce copyright laws in Nigeria to safeguard your intellectual property and prevent people from using your copyrighted mark without your permission.
The first step if you discover that someone is utilizing your copyrighted logo without your permission is to write a stop-and-desist letter. This is a formal letter in which you warn the person utilizing your logo that they are infringing on your copyright and demand that they stop using it immediately.
You can seek an injunction if the person continues to use your copyrighted logo after receiving the cease and desist letter. A court ruling prohibiting a person from using your brand is an injunction. The police or other law enforcement organizations can enforce this court order.
You may be entitled to damages in addition to an injunction. Damages are monetary awards that can be obtained as compensation for any loss caused by the unauthorized use of your copyrighted logo.
You should note that enforcing copyright rules in Nigeria can be a difficult task. You may need a lawyer or seek legal aid to navigate the procedure. Taking action to enforce your copyright, on the other hand, can assist in protecting your intellectual property and guarantee that your logo is only used as you see fit.
A logo designer in Nigeria must learn how to trademark a logo in Nigeria and the benefits that it gives. Trademarking your logo can help you safeguard intellectual property, boost its worth, and open licensing opportunities. However, it is also critical to understand how trademark laws are enforced to prevent people from utilizing your copyrighted mark without your permission.
If you need a logo for your company, I can assist you in creating a one-of-a-kind logo that symbolizes your brand and message. By trademarking your logo, you can ensure it is legally protected and only used as you see proper. As a logo designer, I have the skills and knowledge to create a logo that looks amazing and accurately portrays your business identity.
Please contact me to learn more about how I can help you create your logo. Let’s collaborate to develop a logo that symbolizes your brand and helps you stand out in Nigeria’s competitive market.