Drafting Trademark Search Reports in Nigeria

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Companies or individuals seeking to register trademarks in Nigeria often reach out to Trademark Lawyers asking for a trademark search report or an opinion.

So what exactly is a trademark search report?

A trademark search report is a comprehensive report that includes results related to a trademark search carried out in Nigeria.

The request usually entails gathering information on availability, similarity of a proposed mark with other existing marks, and much more. Although not mandatory, a trademark search is recommended as a first step before filing an application to register a trademark in Nigeria as it provides information to enable clients evaluate potential obstacles for opposition that may arise.

Tips for Drafting the Trademark Search Report or Opinion:

  1. Request an official search at the Trademarks Registry in Nigeria. Currently, you cannot search the Registry’s records online but you can make payment to carry out the search using the registry’s online portal.
  2. The trademark search should be limited to the class of goods or services relevant to the proposed mark or they can be expanded to include other related goods or services. Please note, searching different classes for a trademark attracts separate fees, so you may want to get authorization from your client before expanding the parameters of your search instructions.
  3. Search online to see if there are services or products that are offered in the industry your client seeks to enter.
  4. Search the Corporate Affairs Commission’s company database for any similarities.
  5. Search online to see if there are Internet or independent online trademark services that provide information on trademarks in Nigeria.

The search report should indicate the parameters of the search i.e. where the trademark search was conducted, date of search, proposed mark, and the class of goods or services searched. The report should identify potential conflicts or similar marks and if no similar or identical marks are found, the report should also state this.

Finally, the report should include an analysis or comments section providing the trademark lawyer’s comments or opinion on the results found. For example, it could state:

Opinion on Trademark Registry Search: In Class 3, no exact match for the trademark “Proposed Mark” was found. The search report did reveal several marks with similarities that raise the possibility of the likelihood of confusion. Should the client proceed to file the trademark “Proposed Mark” in Class 3 in Nigeria, it is likely that the mark will be rejected by the Registrar of Trademarks on the grounds that is is very similar to a prior mark filed in Nigeria“.

Sample commentary included in a Trademark Search Report or Opinion

If you need help with a trademark search in Nigeria, please email trademarks@nlipw.com.

The article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.

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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 290 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: uakpotaire@nlipw.com

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