FILING FOR A PATENT IN NIGERIA
Patents are exclusive monopoly rights granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria to an inventor, which preludes another inventor from exploiting the proprietor’s invention without his consent. Patents protect new inventions and cover how things work; what they do; how they do it; what they are made of and how they are made.
Patents are granted exclusively to a patentee for a period of 20 years from the date of filing the application. A Patent shall also lapse if the prescribed annual fees are not duly paid for in respect of it.
A patent application relates to only one application and for a Patent to be granted, it must satisfy the following requirements:
- the invention must be new.
- involves an inventive step that is not obvious to anyone who has knowledge and experience in the subject.
- it is capable of being used for industrial purposes and not be a mathematical or scientific discovery or method.
- inventions must not be immoral or against public policy
The Patents Registry, Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry administers the protection of Patents in Nigeria. The Legislation that governs the affairs and registration of patents in Nigeria is the Patents and Design Act 1971. Patent applications are usually filed in the English Language in Nigeria.
The requirement for Patent Registration
Documents required for the registration of Patents in Nigeria are as follows:
- The inventor is required to bring a formal application that contains a petition or request made to the Registrar of the Trademarks, Patents, and Designs Registry signed by the Applicant or his Agent containing the following information:
- Title of the Invention
- Background history of the Invention
- Specifications and claims of any number of processes with the means of working those processes start from general to specific.
- The Detailed Description of the invention to be supported by drawings or illustrations if any.
- Conclusion (what society/ mankind stands to gain from that field of an invention)
- After filing the application for Patent, an official letter of acknowledgment that bears the application number, the official filing date of the application is generated and issued by the Registry to the Applicant.
- The Patent application after the acknowledgment letter has been issued will be examined by the Registrar to ensure the application conforms with the Requirement of the Act that it contains the full name of the applicant; the address of the Applicant; the Email Address; Phone Number; Copy of Identification Card and Description of the Invention with any plans or drawings; and Claims.
- Where the Registrar is satisfied that the application conforms to the requirements of the Act, the Patent will be granted.
- Upon the grant of the Patent, the Patent Registrar shall issue, on behalf of the President of Nigeria, a Certificate that contains the following details:
- Number of the patent in the order of grant
- Name and address of the Patentee
- The date of the Patent application and the grant
- Number and date of the application on which the claim is based and the name of the country where it was made.
- The description of the invention with the relevant plans and drawings.
Cost of filing for Patent
The cost of filing for a Patent at the Registry depends on the individual patent attorney appointed for the registration. By and large, Nigerian Patent Attorneys charge between N150, 000.00 ($420) to N250, 000 (about $700) for filing and professional fees to complete a single patent application.
However, a patent is a delicate application, it is important to appoint an only competent and authorized agent to file for the application and not rely on unaccredited middlemen, who have no knowledge of the application process. An incompetent patent application may be refused by the patent registry.
In conclusion, the registration of a Patent requires that the applicant must have invented certain ideas, which can be protected, and not just mere expression of it.
A patent issued by the Registry confers upon a Patentee the right to prevent any third party from doing, selling, importing or re-inventing the product or service for the purpose of sale or use without the consent of the Patentee. It also confers on the Patentee the legal right to challenge any unauthorized invention by a third party.
By Intellectual Property Law Team at Resolution Law Firm
Resolution Law Firm is an accredited Patent Law Firm based in Lagos, Nigeria