Patents Law Volume 2 Number 8
(Electronic Filing of Trademarks and Patents in Nigeria)
April 21, 2014
Trademarks and Patents E-filing
In July 2012, the Intellectual Property Office (Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry) in Nigeria launched a new filing portal that allows for online filing of trademarks, patents and designs in Nigeria. One of the main objectives of the portal is to streamline and facilitate the process of filing trademarks, patents and design applications by filing applications online and making payment of fees over the Internet. While there has been some controversy over the accreditation process associated with the use of the online portal, anyone who has used the portal can attest to the fact that it is easy and user-friendly.
Currently the system allows for filing by registered users. Companies registered in Nigeria may apply to become registered users although it appears from the website that filing by individual applicants may one day become a reality.
Limited Errors, Status Checks and Acknowledgement of Filings
Some of the benefits of the online trademarks and patents portal include:
- The most obvious benefit of the portal is that registered users can now file online trademarks, patents and design applications in Nigeria;
- A significant increase in the speed with which applications can be filed. Depending on whether what is sort to be registered is a trademark, patent or design, completed applications and samples that follow the prescribed format can be submitted within a few minutes;
- The portal provides the ability for registered users to file applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it possible to receive a filing date on days the Registry is officially closed;
- The portal contains a section specifically designed to allow registered users check the status of applications that have been filed online.
- The portal also allows for instantaneous provision of an e-filing acknowledgement receipt, date of application and application number, upon completion of the filing process;
- The use of the online portal cuts printing, postage and/or courier delivery costs, because applications are created, reviewed and filed electronically using the Internet;
- The portal also allows for flexibility in payment options i.e. via bank payments or through online Quickteller payments;
- Because information is transferred directly from the database containing information entered by applicants and does not have to be entered again manually by the registry staff, transaction errors are minimum.
How does the electronic filing change the existing trademarks and patents application process?
For the most part, the trademarks and patents application process remains the same. The only change is that for trademarks, the application forms and bromide (stylized or logo mark) and other supporting documents are submitted in an electronic format and for patent applications, the specification, claims and drawings are submitted in an electronic format (only PDF documents are currently accepted).
Are all documents now filed electronically with the Registry?
No. Currently, the Registry continues to accept hard copies of applications at the Ministry of Trade and Investment in Abuja in addition to electronic filings. The online portal merely provides an option for registered users to file their applications.
This article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.