Nigeria Intellectual Property
Patents, Trade Marks & Designs
Smit & Van Wyk deals exclusively with Nigeria Intellectual Property including patents, designs, trade marks, copyright and plant breeders’ rights. Our team of Intellectual Property attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources to give expert legal advice regarding your Intellectual Property portfolio. We can assist with the protection, prosecution and enforcement thereof. It is our mission to provide unparalleled service to our treasured clients by developing dynamic solutions which are tailored to suit individual Intellectual Property needs. The key to achieving this lies with our vibrant people, who are eager to go beyond the call of duty.
Nigeria patents have a requirement of absolute novelty and should be inventive and useful. A patent is valid for 20 years provided that it is renewed annually from the 3rd anniversary of the filing date. Nigeria is a member of PCT and the Paris Convention. PCT National Phase is the last step of the PCT procedure. It follows the international phase and consists in the processing of the international application.
The appearance of an object may be protected by way of a registered design. Nigeria designs have an initial term of 5 years from date of filing, with possible extensions of 2 further terms of 5 years each. The Locarno Classification is followed when filing a design application.
Nigeria trade marks are valid for 7 years from the filing date and are renewable every 14 years thereafter. In Nigerian trade mark law first-to-file is superior to first-to-use. However, Nigeria trade marks that have been registered are easier to enforce than their common law equivalent.
Franchise attorneys act on behalf of local as well as international clients in the franchise industry. Our franchise team advises both franchisees and franchisors with regard to legal matters and our franchising services include drafting of franchise agreements, licensing arrangements, advice on all the legal aspects when starting or buying a franchise and dispute resolution. We offer professional legal services to anyone who wishes to start or buy a franchise and we also provide legal services to established franchises who wish to have their franchise agreements reviewed.
Copyright does not have to be registered. Copyright vests in the author of a work once the work is created in a material form and generally, the term of copyright is 50 years subject to the types of work. Any original work made by a qualified person is eligible for copyright protection. A qualified person refers to any national or resident of Nigeria or a Berne Convention country. Nigeria is a signatory to the Berne Convention.
Plant Breeders’ Rights
Breeders of new plant varieties are granted rights for protection against exploitation. New plant varieties must be registered with the Registrar for Plant Breeders’ Rights. Any individual breeder or breeding institution may apply for a plant breeder’s right and foreign breeders may only apply through an Intellectual Property agent in Nigeria. To be granted rights, plant varieties must be new, distinct, uniform, stable and have an acceptable denomination.