Nigeria: PTO initiates the digitalization of the Nigerian Trademark database

There have been new developments regarding the digitization of the Nigerian Trade Mark database. The Nigerian Registry of Trademarks, Patents & Designs has issued an update regarding their data capture project. The announcement made by the Office claimed that the digitization of the Nigerian trade mark database will commence on the 1st of October 2015. The project counts with the collaboration of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The notification presented by the Registrar underlines the wide-ranging objectives of the project such as the modernization and acceleration of work process and service delivery, the increase in the credibility of documents issued by the Office, the facilitation of electronic searches and also provide more assurance to parties that may be interested in investing in the Nigerian economy.

The Office also appeals that trade mark owners and Intellectual property agents ‘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 the 28th of September 2015’.

The actions that may need to be taken by trade mark owners and Agents in order to comply with the requests presented by the Registrar are still being discussed internally and no specific requirements or guidelines have been issued. In any case, our office in Nigeria will continue to monitor the situation and update on any new developments that may take place.

The Nigerian Registrar has also hinted on the nature of some of the upgrades that may take place in the future, some of the features which are set to be implemented are:

  • 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.
  • There are plans for Trade mark journals to be issued on a more frequent basis.
  • 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.

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