Patent Registration in Nigeria

Patent Registration gives the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the claimed invention in that country without their consent, for the duration of the patent.

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A patent is a government authority or licence conferring an exclusive right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention in the country it is obtained without permission or consent during the lifespan of the patent.
There is a common misconception about registering ideas and dreams as novel inventions, it is therefore very important to bear in mind that a patent license cannot be obtained for ideas and dreams. Patent on information technology especially media applications has created billionaires around the world and a stronger Nigerian Law can only aid further development locally.

A Patent expires after 20 years from the date of the filing of the relevant patent application.


Why Register a Patent?

 Themain reason to register a patent is to ensure that the inventor is able to exclusively commercially exploit an invention, it must be patented. The rights to a patent are vested in the “Statutory Inventor” i.e. the first person to file and register the patent.

What is eligible for Patent Registration?

Patents are granted for the invention of products or processes. However, for it to be patentable, the invention;

  • Must be new;
  • Must have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject;
  • Must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry and not be, a scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or method, a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, a way of performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, the presentation of information, or some computer programs, an animal or plant variety, a method of medical treatment or diagnosis;
  • And must not be against public policy or morality.

Criteria For Patent Registration in Nigeria

The Patent and Design Act (the "Act") provides the criteria for registering a patent in Nigeria as follows:

  • Novel Invention;

The invention must be new and have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject. The invention must also have never been known, used or made public. An invention is also patentable if it constitutes an improvement upon a patented invention.

An inventor is usually advised to keep his/her invention secret until the invention has been registered else such inventor plays with the risk of invalidating his own patent by prior publication.

  • Capable of Industrial Application;

The invention must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry. Industry in this context is in its broadest form and it means "Anything distinct from being purely intellectual".

This suggests that the invention goes beyond just an idea, a scientific theory, an aesthetic creation, a computer program but must take the practical form of an apparatus, product or a device.

  • Public Policy and Morality;

The invention must not be against public policy or morality as this constitutes a ground on which an application may be rejected by the Patents Registry.

  • One Invention per Registration;

The application to be made to the Registry must relate to only one invention but may include or have in connection with that invention, claims for a number of products or for a number of manufacturing processes or applications of those products.

  • Full Description;

In addition to the provisions of Section 1 of the Act, the Registry prescribes that the application must clearly and fully disclose the details of the invention, the processes involved and all that it entails.

Benefits of Registering a Patent

  • A patent gives the patent holder the right to stop others from using the registered invention or to choose to permit the use by other persons of such invention under agreed terms.
  • A patent also gives the patent holder the right to bring a legal action against anyone who infringes on the registered invention and to make a claim for damages.
  • The Court may also in appropriate circumstances grant injunctive orders restraining the offending party from further infringement on the rights of the patent holder.
  • A patent gives the patent holder the right to grant others a license to use such invention, or sell it, as with any asset. This can provide an important source of revenue for your business.

How long does the registration process take?

  • Patent Drafting: 1-2 weeks
  • Acknowledgment letter: 24 hours from submission
  • Acceptance Letter: 6-8 weeks from submission
  • Grant of Certificate: 6 weeks from Acceptance

How Much is Patent Registration in Nigeria?

We register Protected works under the Nigerian Copyright e-Registration System administered by the Nigerian Copyright Commission to provide evidence of the possible date of creation of the work and other facts stated in the application form in the event of a dispute.

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