The Nigerian office now imposes a new rigour, to themselves and to the applicants, concerning the procedure’s deadlines of trademarks registration.
Having in mind the interest shown by the main industries for Africa and especially for Nigeria, the Nigerian office has gathered his staff on the 8th of July 2014 to introduce new reforms on how to improve the application process. One of the topic in the agenda was the period granted to the applicants to reply to the notifications issued by the office (this also concerned the notifications of temporary refusal for relative grounds). Indeed, even though the regulation of the Office already organises a two months period to take actions and reply to their notification, this period has long been ignored by the applicants and by the Office himself. Such a tolerance has created along the years considerable delays in the process of the trademark registrations, and a significant slowdown in the procedure to deliver filling certificate. Therefore, in order to improve its organisation and to face the (new) waves of application, the Nigerian Office has decided to take radical measures to impose the strict respect of this procedural rule:
- Once this period of two months lapsed, the answer transmitted to the office will be judged void and the trademark application abandoned.
- An extension of this period is possible if the applicant can justify of sufficiently important and legitimate motives.
The measures taken will necessarily have a positive impact on the length of the trademark registration process in Nigeria. This is even more so that the Nigerian Office issues notifications on relative grounds. Indeed, it is important to remind that the Nigerian Office is the last office to check the availability of a trade mark before granting a registration certificate. Consequently, the office can issue refusal of protection concerning trademarks submitted to him, held similar to earlier trademark(s). Given the increasing number of trademark registrations filled with the Nigerian Office, it is a real run against time that is now taking place among the trademark applicants. This race will certainly be won by the applicants who will adapt his filling strategy to the specificities of the Nigerian Office.
Here is a tip from the INLEX Africa team to the clients who intend to acquire trade mark rights in Nigeria: Apply Quickly and Apply Well!