Intellectual Property

Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

Intellectual Property in Nigeria

Smit & Van Wyk deals exclusively with Nigeria Intellectual Property including patents, designs, trade marks, copyright and plant breeders’ rights. Our team of Intellectual Property attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources to give expert legal advice regarding your Intellectual Property portfolio. We can assist with the protection, prosecution and enforcement thereof. It is our mission to provide unparalleled service to our treasured clients by developing dynamic solutions which are tailored to suit individual Intellectual Property needs. The key to achieving this lies with our vibrant people, who are eager to go beyond the call of duty.

Patent Attorneys, Patent Registration, Patents

Nigeria patents have a duration of 20 years from date of filing. Nigeria is a member of PCT and the Paris Convention (International treaty for the protection of Industrial Property). PCT National Phase entries provide a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect intellectual property in each of its contracting states.  

Nigeria is a signatory of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)The Patent Cooperation Treaty ensures that by filing one international patent application, that applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in other PCT member countries. PCT National Phase entry provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect intellectual property in each of its contracting states. 

Nigeria trade marks are valid for 7 years from the filing date and are renewable every 14 years thereafter. Nigeria trade marks that have been registered are easier to enforce than their common law equivalent.

Generally speaking, a trade mark is a name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape, configuration, pattern, ornamentation, colour or container for goods or any combination thereof that is used to distinguish goods or services from those of competitors and others in the marketplace. 

The most current edition of the Nice Classification of Goods and Services is followed. 

Trademark Attorneys, Trademark Registration, Trademarks

Nigeria design law requires absolute novelty, but unlike a patent, a design may be registered up to 6 months after the design has been disclosed or released to the public. Nigeria designs have an initial term of 5 years from date of filing, with possible extensions of 2 further terms of 5 years each. The Locarno Classification is followed when filing a design application.


Copyright does not have to be registered. Copyright vests in the author of a work once the work is created in a material form and generally, the term of copyright is 50 years subject to the types of work. Any original work made by a qualified person is eligible for copyright protection. A qualified person refers to any national or resident of Nigeria or a Berne Convention country.  Nigeria is a signatory to the Berne Convention.

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