The statutory basis of trade marks registration in Nigeria is the Trade Marks Act Cap T 13 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Trade mark protection is gained by registration.
A Trade Mark Registration application must be filed at the Trade Mark Registry by a local agent. A power of Attorney is sufficient and Foreign Applicants do not require local registration.
The Application process commences with a formal examination of distinctiveness of the proposed trade mark and then a search for the availability of the proposed trade mark. Before registration the trade mark application is published in the trade mark journal and any opposition to the registration of the trade mark should be made within 2 months of that publication. If there is no opposition to the registration the trade mark, the trade mark registration certificate will be issued. It usually takes approximately 3 to 4 months from first filing to registration.
When registered a trade mark registration is valid for 7 years which starts from the registration date. The trade mark is subsequently renewable for periods of 14 years.
It is pertinent to note that if a registered trademark has not been used within 5 years from the issue of the registration certificate or has not been used for a continuous period of 5 years. The registration certificate may be subject to cancelation.