In this guide, I will show you How to Register a Patent in Nigeria. From time immemorial, the world has witnessed and celebrated great inventions and inventors.
Much of the comfort and convenience we enjoy today are primarily as a result of great inventions that has changed our world, the efforts of Thomas Edison for electric bulb, Graham Bell for telephone, Nikola Tesla for X-Ray technology, Leonardo Da Vinci for Lens grinding machine, Sturt bridge and some other things, Elias Howe for sewing machine and some other inventors will still be remembered till tomorrow.
Inventions are products of acute ingenuity and creativity and as such, inventors should not only be given credit for their works, the must also be granted special rights and protection under the law.
This is the general concept of patent, according to the Business Dictionary; a patent is described as limited legal monopoly to an individual or firm to make, use and sell its invention and to exclude others from doing so.
It should however be noted that this right of monopoly is temporary and it is granted for a limited number of years, according to the Patents and Designs Act, a registered patent is only valid in Nigeria for a period of twenty years.
Patents generally are governed by the Patents and Designs Act, CAP P2, Laws of the Federation, 2004. The Section 1 of the Act outlines the conditions which make an invention patentable:
1. The invention must be new and result from an inventive activity that is to say that the work must be a novel idea of the maker or the person registering the invention.
2. The invention must be capable industrial application. The Act goes further to say that an invention is capable of industrial application if it can be manufactured or used in any kind of industry, including agriculture.
3. If an invention constitutes an improvement upon a patented invention and also is new, results from inventive activity and is capable of industrial application.
4. The invention must not be against public order or morality.
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The process of Registration
The responsibility of registering patents in Nigeria is on the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry in the federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
If all the conditions listed for the grant of patents are met, an application may be made to the registrar. Section 3 of the Patents and Designs Act outlines the elements which the application must contain.
1. The full name of the applicant
2. The address of the applicant, if the address is outside Nigeria, an address of service in Nigeria
A description of the relevant invention with any appropriate plans and drawings
1. A claim or claims for a number of products, manufacturing processes for those products, processes and the means of working those processes.
The registration of patents in Nigeria is not free, thus the application for patent must be accompanied by the prescribed fee, and the fees are not fixed and may be reviewed from time to time by the registry.
Accompanying the application for a patent may be a declaration by the inventor stating a request that he be mentioned as the true inventor in the patent, in some cases, the application may be done by an agent, the name of the inventor must be mentioned in the patent.
Examination by the Registrar
After the application and the accompanying documents have been submitted to the registry, the registrar shall examine the application to determine whether it conforms with the conditions and requirements of the Act, especially section 3(1), (3) and (4) of the Act, section 3(1) deals with the requirements for application, if this requirements have not been complied with, the application shall be rejected.
Section 3(3) requires that the application must relate to only one invention, if this provision has not been complied with, the registrar shall call on the applicant to limit the application to only one invention or within thirty days make subsidiary applications in respect of the other inventions.
If after examination, there are no impediments to the grant of the patent, the registrar shall cause to be issued to the applicant a document containing the number of the patent in the order of grant, the name and address of the patentee. An address for service in Nigeria if the address is outside Nigeria, the dates of application and grant (section 5(1) Patents and Designs Act)
The registrar shall also keep the register of all patents and shall also cause registered patents to be published.
Some Benefits of Patent Registration
There are several benefits under the law that accrues to a patent holder, first the patent gives the holder a right impede other people from using the invention without the due permission or authorization and in the case of such unauthorized use, the holder reserves the right to claim damages through a legal action in court.
The patent holder may also choose to dispose of his right by selling off the patent or through the grant of licence.
Section 6 of the Act contains some noteworthy provisions in respect of these rights. This section provides that;
A patent confers upon the patentee the right to preclude any other person from doing any of the following acts-
a. where the patent has been granted in respect of a product, the act of making, importing, selling or using the product, or stocking it for the purpose of sale or use; and
b. where the patent has been granted in respect of a process, the act of applying the process or doing, in respect of a product obtained directly by means of the process, any of the acts mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection.
2. The scope of the protection conferred by a patent shall be determined by the terms of the claims; and the description (and the plans and drawings, if any) included in the patent shall be used to interpret the claims.
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3. The rights under a patent- shall extend only to acts done for industrial or commercial purposes; and shall not extend to acts done in respect of a product covered by the patent after the product has been lawfully sold in Nigeria, except in so far as the patent makes provision for a special application of the product, in which case the special application shall continue to be reserved to the patentee notwithstanding this paragraph…
The registration of patents is to ensure that the makers of creative works get credit and obtain maximum benefits from their works, thus the unauthorized use of inventions are prohibited, the patent however does not last forever, the lifespan is 20 years in Nigeria.Click here to see the latest Jobs opportunities in Nigeria.
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