Trademark opposition in Nigeria is the formal process by which a third party objects to the registration of a trademark in Nigeria.
Oppositions can be filed by any person who believes they will be adversely impacted or commercially damaged by the registration of a pending trademark application.
How to Oppose a Trademark in Nigeria
If you believe a pending trademark resembles your own brand too closely, is confusingly similar, and covers the same or similar goods or services, then you may consider opposing that trademark application in Nigeria.
The opposition process is time-bound and follows a strict timeline of actions that must be performed to avoid the opposition being dismissed.
In Nigeria, you have 2 months from the date of the advertisement of the offending trademark in the Journal to start the process of opposition. A Notice of Intention to Oppose needs to be filed. Once a person files a Notice of Intention to Oppose, setting out the grounds upon which the mark should not proceed to registration, they will then be considered the ‘Opponent’.
Within one month of receiving the Notice of Intention of the Opponent, the Applicant of the mark must file a Counterstatement, otherwise, the trademark application in Nigeria would be deemed abandoned.
Grounds for Trademark Opposition in Nigeria
Some of the grounds for opposing a trademark registration in Nigeria are as follows:
- The trademark is not capable of distinguishing the applicant’s goods and/or services from those of other traders;
- The trademark is similar to an earlier trademark that acquired a reputation in Nigeria;
- The applicant does not intend to use the trademark;
- The trademark is substantially identical with and/or deceptively similar to an earlier trademark.
As the Opponent, you must file a Statutory Declaration in support of the Notice of Opposition. The evidence in support essentially provides information and evidence in the form of a declaration that supports the grounds upon which the registration of the trademark is opposed. The trademark applicant will have an opportunity to respond by filing its own evidence.
Take notice that the Trademark Office in Nigeria will not notify you if a similar trademark to your own brand is filed. It is your responsibility as a trademark owner to monitor and watch the market for potential infringement and act accordingly. We assist our clients by carrying out a regular trademark watching service in Nigeria with a view to taking action against any new trademark applications of concern to our clients.
If you would like to commence a trademark opposition in Nigeria or need assistance overcoming opposition in Nigeria, please contact our attorneys directly, email at firstname.lastname@example.org.