A trademark is defined in
the interpretation section of the Trade Marks Act as a mark,
used or proposed to be used in relation to goods (and services) for the purpose
of indicating a connection in the course of trade between the goods and an
individual having the right to use the mark.

At its core, it identifies
and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

Items that can be
registered as a trademark include a name, invented word, phrase, logo, designs,
symbol, image or any combination thereof.

All industries thrive on
Trademarks. Why register?
One significant reason for
registration is its certification (authentication) function. This means that
the distinguishing mark would become the platform for its customers to identify
and by extension, guarantee the quality of the goods or services provided. The
swoosh sign for instance might be what a customer needs to see to be certain
that he is buying an original Nike footwear.

Another benefit of a
registered trademark is the exclusivity enjoyed by its owner for a defined
period. In Nigeria, a registered trademark is valid for seven years, and
renewable for fourteen years thereafter, this can ensure perpetuity as long as
it is continually renewed.

In another breath, a
registered trademark while ensuring goodwill and reputation, also gives the
exclusive right of usage to the registered proprietor. Thus, where you register
a logo for instance, anyone who makes use of something similar or identical
without your consent would be liable for infringement.

Against the backdrop of
the foregoing, a registered proprietor can always bring an action for
infringement or for passing off under common law, and by virtue of the Merchandise
Marks Act
, a criminal action can be instituted against the offender.

Where a registered
trademark is infringed upon or threatened to be so infringed, reliefs that can
be sought include injunctions, orders for delivery up, damages and orders for
account for profit.

In sum, in Nigeria, a
trade mark can be your most valuable marketing tool and can help you:
position your products or services in the
protect your business identity.
safeguard your reputation.
prevent others from using the same or
similar mark.
prove your legal rights for use of the mark
and allow you to use the ® symbol.
avoid reliance on common law rights (i.e.
passing off) which can be difficult to defend.
get exclusive rights to
use, licence, and franchise or sell your mark.

Do I have to register a
Trade Mark in Nigeria’s competition-ridden marketplace?

Beyond the advantages
highlighted, if you do not register your trade mark, other businesses may be
able to use it, or register it and prevent you from using it later. Your
competition might employ this in sabotaging your efforts and deliver a sucker

We can help you register
your Trademark in Nigeria. To begin the process, Get in Touch!

HighTower Lawyers
Ed’s Note – This article
was originally posted here