What types of Intellectual Property Rights are involved in advertising in Nigeria and how can I protect my creative advertisement?
A number of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are involved in advertising including business names, company logos, advertising slogans, product names, packaging, music, videos, domain names and graphic symbols.
One simple way you can protect your creative advertisement is to include the word “copyright” or the copyright symbol ©, the name(s) of the copyright owner(s) and the year the work was first published in your advertising material. What this does is to alert anyone who views the ad that the work is protected by copyright.
Another way to protect IPRs in your advertisements is to register your trademark with the Trademarks, Patents and Design Registry in Nigeria and to use your trademark consistently in all your promotional materials. Registering your trademarks in Nigeria will protect your words, letters, labels, numerals, colors, signatures, devices, or any combination of words, letters, labels, signatures that identify and distinguish the source of your goods from those of others in the course of trade.
How much material owned by others can I use in my advertising?
Before you can use materials owned by others (e.g. photographs, music, logos, drawings, graphics and videos) in your advertisements, you must ensure that you have formally obtained permission to do so from the copyright owner. You must also credit the owner of the copyrighted work and avoid using the work in a way that it damages the reputation of the copyright owner; otherwise you may find yourself tangled in a copyright infringement suit.
Can I use the likeness of another person in my advertising?
Many businesses understand the value of using celebrities in advertisements because it often gets the required attention of members of the public and tends to place a product or service in the spotlight. But a company in Nigeria cannot simple use a celebrity’s likeness for marketing purposes without the approval of the celebrity and/or the agents because Nigerian laws protect celebrity’s rights to privacy and publicity.
When an agency in Nigeria creates an advertisement for my business, who owns the rights?
As a business, if you outsource the creation of your ads to an outside contractor, you must ensure that all the right paperwork gets signed i.e. off the back, the company that creates your ads owns the IPRs in the ads but that’s why we have contracts. Ensure that you come to a written agreement with the outside contractor that transfers all newly created IPRs contained in the ad to your business.
This article was originally published on July 19, 2013. The article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.