The Trade Marks Act 1965 of Nigeria defines a trademark as “a mark used or proposed to be used concerning goods to indicate, or to indicate, a connection in the course of trade between the goods and some person having the right either as proprietor or as a registered user to use the mark whether with our without any indication of the identity of the person, and means, concerning the certification trademark, a mark registered or deemed to have been registered under Section 43 of this Act1”.
Trademark registration in Nigeria, as provided for under the Trade Marks Act LFN 1990, is one of the most essential ways to protect and differentiate one’s trademarks in the country. The only option to protect a unique brand for goods or services in the marketplace in Nigeria is to register a trademark.
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or other indicators that identifies the source of products or services. If a person, a company, or another entity uses a trademark to sell or advertise its goods or services, it can get the right to use the trademark and prevent others from using it in connection with similar goods or services. Famous trademarks, such as ‘Google,’ ‘Dangote,’ or ‘Coca-Cola,’ may be used to prevent others from using them in connection with unrelated goods or services. Trademark law is a subset of intellectual property law that is governed by both federal and state legislation.
A trademark can be as basic as a word in plain text, such as “iPod,” or a domain name, such as “gmail.com,” as long as the trademark owner uses it to identify its products or services. The word, phrase, symbol, or design element must function as a source identifier for goods or services. The main purpose of trademark law is to protect consumers from being misled about the origin or sponsorship of goods and services. This is accomplished by permitting a trademark owner to prevent others from duping consumers into purchasing a product or service that they incorrectly believe is from the trademark owner.
What is the procedure for registering a trademark?
A trademark registration application must be filed with the Ministry of Trade and Investment’s trademark registry. A good copy of the sign filed for registration, including any colors, forms, or three-dimensional characteristics, must be included in the application. A list of goods or services to which the sign would apply must also be included in the application.
To be protected as a trademark or other sort of mark, the sign must meet specific criteria: – It must be distinguishable from other trademarks indicating other items for customers to recognize it as representing a specific product.
• It must not be dishonest or likely to mislead consumers about the product’s nature or quality;
• It must not violate public order or decency;
• It must not be identical or confusingly similar to a trademark that already exists. This can be determined by the national office conducting a search and examination, or by the opposition of third parties claiming similar or identical rights.
How long is a trademark protected once it is registered?
A trademark is first registered for seven (7) years, but it can be renewed for further fourteen (14) years at any time.
What Are the Benefits of Registering Your Trademark in Nigeria?
1. Trademarks represent your company’s or business’s brand and identity.
2. Trademarks are valuable assets.
3. They are indestructible
4. To safeguard your internet brand identification from cyber squatters
5. It’s a comparatively low-cost investment.
Why Legal protection is required
Trademarks must be legally protected to fulfill their distinguishing role for consumers who want to choose between different goods of the same sort on the market. Otherwise, competitors could employ identical or similar signs for the same or similar items, or signs that are so similar that the consumer is unsure of the goods’ provenance.
A fooled consumer may not recognize that the item he has purchased is not of the origin represented by the trademark, and may hold the legitimate trademark owner liable if the items do not fulfill his expectations. Even if the consumer later finds that a trademark confusingly similar to the one used for the goods, he meant to buy has led him to the wrong product, it will be difficult for him to take legal action against the genuine trademark infringer.
As a result, it is widely accepted that the owner of a protected trademark must be able to prohibit competitors from using identical or confusingly similar trademarks for items that are identical or similar to those for which he uses his own. This is referred to as the trademark owner’s “exclusive right.” Be safe.