There are a few steps to keep in mind before filing a patent application in Nigeria.
Step 1 – Determine if it is actually a patent application you need.
Sometimes, an invention may need patent protection in addition to other combination of Intellectual Property (IP) e.g. trademarks, copyright, industrial designs, trade secrets etc. Other times, you may not actually need a patent but other forms of IP may be more suitable to your needs.
Step 2 – Determine if your invention can be patented in Nigeria.
You may want to spend sometime confirming what can and cannot be patented in Nigeria. The reason for this is that unlike the United States, Kenya and South Africa, Nigeria does not currently grant patents in respect of plants and animal varieties. Nigeria also does not grant patent on biological processes for the production of plants or animals (except microbiological processes and their products) or principles and discoveries of a scientific nature.
Other questions to ask should relate to the cost of registering or getting a patent in Nigeria; the timeline for obtaining the patent, and how long the patent protection would last.
Step 3 – As soon as you confirm that your invention can be patented, it is recommended that you use an experienced and skilled patent lawyer.
You have to be mindful that not every lawyer is skilled in patent drafting and review. It is very important to ensure that your lawyer has acquired the technical skills necessary to prepare and file your patent application, including the capacity to draft the all-important claims that determine the scope and coverage of the protection to be granted by the patent. Ask relevant questions before you engage the services of a lawyer for the patent drafting process.
Step 4 – Once you have confirmed that your invention can be patented and secured a skilled patent lawyer, your next step is to work with the lawyer and prepare the documents for the patent application.
In order to submit a patent application in Nigeria, you will need to do the following:
i. Pay the application official filing fees and your lawyer’s professional fees – If your lawyer is an accredited agent, then the official fees can be paid online and all the application forms can also be submitted through the registry’s online portal.
ii. Prepare and submit a signed Form 2 (Power of Attorney), authorizing the lawyer to submit the patent application on your behalf.
iii. Submit your supporting documents which will include the Patent Form 3 containing the abstract, description of the invention, specifications of claims and drawings.
iv. Submit your application to the registry for their review.
Step 5 – Check Application Status
If your lawyer is an accredited agent, the lawyer can from time-to-time check the status of your patent application online. This is very useful especially if your lawyer is located outside of Abuja, where the registry’s office is located. This way, the lawyer can keep you regularly informed about the status of your application and next steps, if any.
Originally Published on November 9, 2017. If you are interested in filing a patent in Nigeria, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.