In the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, patent law is governed by the Patents & Designs Act, Cap P2, Laws of the Federation, 2004 which deals with safeguarding rights over scientific/technological inventions from outright copying to knowledgeable or unknowledgeable incorporation of already patented work.
The lifespan of the patent lasts for 20 years provided the annual renewal fees are paid for the duration of its potential life. Where the patentee defaults in the payment of the annual renewal fee, the patent lapses, after a 6 months period of grace, if still not be renewed and cannot be revived again.
Section 1 of the Patent and Design Act states the requirement for a patent;
(a) If it is new, results from inventive activity and is capable of industrial application; or
(b) If it constitutes an improvement upon a patented invention and also is new, results from inventive activity and is capable of industrial application.
Section 1 (4), (5) provides for the exceptions to patentability. These include plants or animal varieties, or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals. Inventions the publication of which will be contrary to public order and morality are also excluded, so also are principles of a scientific nature.
Section 3 of the Act provides for the formal requirements for a patent application:
(a) shall be made to the Registrar and shall contain –
(i) the applicant’s full name and address and if that address is outside Nigeria, an address for service in Nigeria,
(ii) a description of the relevant invention with any appropriate plans and drawings,
(iii) a claim or claims, and
(iv) such other matter as may be prescribed; and
(b) shall be accompanied by –
(i) the prescribed fee,
(ii) 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
(iii) if the application is made by an agent, a signed power of attorney.
Greystone Solicitors will assist in the application process at the Registry of Trademarks, Patents and Designs in Nigeria.
Our lawyers will assist in registration but applicant has the following responsibilities;
- Design must conform to the requirement of registration
- Not publicize the design before registration the design and where he does, It becomes part of the public domain and cannot be protected after six months of such exhibition, or unless the priority of an earlier application can be claimed.
- Must provide a specimen of the design.
- Must also provide basic information including the name of the applicant, address, an indication of the kind of products associated with the design, and the title of the design.
- Pay the prescribed fees.
- Power of Attorney
- Certified copy of the priority document if claimed.