A trademark is a sign or symbol capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one business from those of other businesses.[i] It could be a word, slogan, design, or combination that indicates the source of goods and services.[ii] One of the purposes of a trademark is to ensure that consumers can rely on the quality of goods and services being purchased. It makes the source of the goods or services easily identifiable by consumers and prevents others from using the mark on the same or similar products without the license or authorization of the registered trademark proprietor[iii]. Therefore, it is highly important to ensure that your trademark is registered and renewed upon expiration.
Under Nigerian law, a trademark is valid for a term of 7 years from the filing date and renewable for successive periods of 14 years.[iv] Section 23(1) of the Trademark Act LFN 2004 (Act) provides that upon registration of a trademark, the registered trademark shall be valid for an initial period of 7 years and may be renewed for a subsequent period of 14 years. In a nutshell, there is no limit as to the number of times a trademark can be renewed provided the mark remains in use.
It is important to state however that an application for renewal must be filed 3 months before the expiration date of the term conferred by the initial registration. It is also important to state further that despite the aforesaid, the trademark may however be renewed within 1 month after the renewal due date provided that a corresponding surcharge has been paid.[v]
The Act made provisions for the steps to take to renew one’s trademark before expiration with the Trademark, Patents, and Design Registry. Section 23 (2) of the Act provides that the Registrar shall, on an application made by the registered proprietor of a trademark in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed period, renew the registration of the trademark for a period of fourteen years from the date of expiration of the original registration or of the last renewal of registration, as the case may be.
Therefore, the procedure for renewal simply requires the registered proprietor of the mark to file the prescribed application form as well as pay the required fees at the Trademark Registry and submit the same alongside the subsisting or expired Trademark Certificate.[vi]
The renewal application can be filed either through accredited agents or filed physically at the Trademark Registry, Abuja. The applicant is expected to provide information related to the applicant and also the trademark such as the trademark type, the file or trademark number, a description of the logo, and the class of goods or services that the trademark falls in.[vii]
The documents required for renewal of the trademark are as follows;
- Certificate of Registration of the Trademark
- The Power of Attorney executed in favor of the proprietor applicant;
- Evidence of payment of renewal fees;
- Particulars of the applicant such as the name, address, email address, and phone number;
- The File Number;[viii]
It is important to note that where the registered proprietor fails to renew a mark before its expiration, it could be a ground for removal of a trademark in the Register of Trademarks in line with Section 23 (3) of the Act.
One’s brand is the public image by which one is known and builds a reputation. The goodwill that is created through a brand is one of the most important assets in your business. It is therefore important that a proprietor continues to protect its intellectual property by renewing the mark before its expiration so as to prevent the likelihood of it being removed from the register of the trademark by the Registrar and so that the proprietor can continue to enjoy all the benefits and rights that the registration of a mark bestows.
[ii] Maryam Abdulsalam, Nigeria: Registration Of Trademark And Its Benefits https://www.mondaq.com/nigeria/trademark/1214964/registration-of-trademark-and-its-benefits- accessed May 19, 2023
[iv] Section 23(1) of the Trademark Act LFN 2004
[v] IP Coster, Trademark in Nigeria https://www.ip-coster.com/IPGuides/trademark-nigeria accessed May 19, 2023
[vi] Winifred Idiaru, Nigeria: Procedure For Trademark Renewal In Nigeria https://www.mondaq.com/nigeria/trademark/989078/procedure-for-trademark-renewal-in-nigeria accessed May 19, 2023
[vii] Supra note 6
[viii] Supra note 6
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