Process for registering a Patent in Nigeria
What is a Patent?
Before you decide to register a patent, you need to know what a patent is. A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.
A patent grants the inventor a temporary but exclusive monopoly of the commercial exploitation of that invention. It 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.
Why Register a Patent?
The main 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.
Process to register a Patent
To make a patent application in Nigeria, the first step is to ensure the invention has not already been patented, by conducting a search. If the result of the search is positive, then the application is made:
- A petition or request for a patent signed by the applicant or his agent and containing the applicant’s full name and address;
- a specification, including a claim or claims in duplicate; plans and drawings, if any, in duplicate;
- where appropriate, a declaration signed by the true inventor requesting that he be mentioned as such in the patent and giving his name and address;
- a signed power of attorney or authorization of agent if the application is made by an agent;
- an address for service in Nigeria if the applicant’s address is outside Nigeria; and payment of the prescribed fee.
Once granted, a patent is valid for 20 years.
Who can register a Patent?
Under Nigerian law, only accredited individuals/companies can register patents on behalf of inventors. So if you are interested in registering your patent, you will need to hire the services of accredited agents for this process.
In Nigeria, the primary legislation that governs the grant of patents is the Patents and Designs Act. The Government agency that manages the grant of patents is the Trademarks, Patents And Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department, Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Investment. Applications are made to the Registrar of Patents and Copyrights.
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We hope you have found this information helpful. Please note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. This answer is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer.