One popular question we are asked at NLIPW is whether or not companies and individuals doing business in Nigeria should trademark their business name and logo together.
It is important when doing business in Nigeria to ensure that you protect your business through intellectual property (IP). One way companies can achieve this is by filing an application to register their business name, associated brands, and logo. As your company gains brand recognition, customers will associate your logo with your company, and as such you should ensure that you have the necessary IP covering your logo registration. For example, many customers in Nigeria associate MTN with its yellow color; Nike has with its swoosh and Pepsi is recognizable with the red, white and blue combination logo.
The business name and logo are good indicators for consumers and clients that are often helpful in distinguishing your business from that of competitors.
So, Should You Trademark Your Business Name and Your Logo Together?
The answer is that it depends. There are reasons to keep it separate as well as reasons for combining the filing.
Reasons to File the Application Together?
The major reason for companies doing business in Nigeria, especially startups, to apply for the registration of their business name together with their logo is the cost associated with filing trademarks in Nigeria i.e financial motivation. Filing trademarks in Nigeria is not cheap — the costs can vary from anywhere between $150 to $1,070 depending on the experience, background and expertise of the filing agent. Each application for the logo and business name if filed separately and in multiple classes, can cost the business a significant amount of money.
In reality, although the company may save money in the short term by registering the business name and logo together, in the long term, they often end up paying more when they re-brand their products or change their business logo.
Reasons to Keep It Separate
If the application for the business name and logo are filed separately, it is often easier for the company in situations where it changes its logo to simply register the new logo. If there is re-branding of the logo associated with a business name or logo, and the original application was filed separately, the company would not have to register the trademark with the new logo, it can simply register the logo as a new application. It may not appear to be an issue but think about it this way if you have already registered ‘my company name and device” and you change your logo and wish to register “my company name and new device”, you may run into problems as the company name is already on the register of trademarks, and may appear to be a duplicate registration.
Ultimately, the client makes the final decision on how they would like to file their trademarks but it is definitely important to remember the benefits of filing separately or keeping the business name and logo together.
This article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.