In trade and commerce, a strong brand identity and reputation helps the audience differentiate a product or service from those of its competitors and can positively influence customers’ purchasing decisions.

The concept of Trademark helps to reinforce the importance of a strong identity in business.

Like the name implies, a trademark is a mark, word, phrase, logo or symbol that distinguishes a brand or product or service from any other.

A major characteristic of a trademark is that it must be distinctive. For example, the beverage company Coca-Cola using the ‘coke’ trademark has a distinct logo and color scheme that is recognized globally. This mark is bound together to the beverage.

Once an entity registers a trademark, it becomes the sole property of that entity. It can be sold or licensed. It is used exclusively by the owners of the trademark and cannot be used by any other person without due authorization.

The unauthorized use of a trademark can cause its owners to sue for infringement. Trademarks do have monetary value, and that is why it is considered an asset in economic terms.

The law governing the use of trademark In Nigeria is the Trademarks Act CAP T 13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and the Trademark Regulation 1990.

The relevant government agency which regulates matters relating to trademarks is the Trademarks, Patents, and Designs Registry. The Registry is domiciled under the Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment

CONDITIONS FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRADEMARK REGISTRATION

  • Device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, or any combination thereof. For it to be eligible for registration in Nigeria, it must contain or consist of at least one of the following             essential particulars.
  • the name of a company, individual, or firm, represented in a special or particular manner;
  • the signature of the applicant for registration or some predecessor in his business;
  • an invented word or invented words;
  • a word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods, and not being according to its ordinary signification a geographical name or a surname;
  • any other distinctive mark. 

IS REGISTRATION COMPULSORY IN NIGERIA

In some industries it is compulsory that trademarks are registered.

Registration in one country does not suffice in other countries unlike copyright which is quite different; trademarks must be registered in each local jurisdiction or markets where the product or service will be sold.

In Nigeria, registration is done at the Trademarks, Patents, and Designs Registry.

EXPIRATION

A trademark lasts for 7 years after which it is renewable for another 14 years. It is advised that an application for renewal should be made not less than 3 months from the due date.

This post highlights the importance of a strong identity in business.

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