Today we will be looking at Trademark as a form of protection of your Intellectual Property.
A trademark is a sign used to differentiate your business, goods and services from that of others. It can also be a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established representing a company or product. The following can be registered under a trademark; logo, emblem, sign, stamp, symbol, device, badge, crest, insignia, seal, coat of arms, shield, motif, hallmark, figure, monogram, logotype, colophon etc. Examples of known registered trademarks are Dangote, David Wej, Twice as Nice etc.
The benefits of registering a trademark are enormous as it protects your brand and restricts people from using or copying your name or logo. It also adds value to your brand. For example, Coca Cola trademarked their bottle, logo and even the font used in their logo so that is why you won’t see any other company making use of the design of their bottle or logo.
When a name or logo is trademarked, it is usually binding amongst the countries that are signatory to the treaty of the convention that ratified all trademarks done internationally. However, Nigeria is still backwards in terms of obtaining records of trademarks registered internationally and it poses a problem trying to collate all the registered trademarks done in almost 140 countries. So to be on the safe side it is advisable to register the trademark again like Microsoft Nigeria, Dunlop and Ariel all registered their trademark when they started business in Nigeria.
For example, do you know that a company in Nigeria sued Panadol for infringement of their registered trademark with regards to their logo and packaging? Guess how much Panadol was asked to pay as damages? (Let me know your answer in the comments lol)
What is the procedure in Nigeria?
To register a trademark, you need to submit at least 3 unique and distinct names. The name search is very important as it can be rejected for various reasons e.g. deceptiveness, public policy, immorality, similarity to previously registered Mark, and so on
Your logo or design must also be drawn on a paper or thick transparent cloth which is called a bromide. This is to make sure the officials at the trademark office effectively access the originality of the logo and check whether it is conflicting with previously trademarked logos that might be similar.
Next requirement is the agent’s letter or form of authorization. This is also a very important stage and must be done by a lawyer. After this, the document will be assessed for payment of filing fees and stamp duties.
Once the name and logo has been approved, you can start using the trademark pending the final certificate that would be issued to you later on.
Finally, the trademark is valid for 7 years and renewable for another 14 years.
Hope you have learnt something. I await your answer to the question above