The Nigerian Intellectual Property Office, also known as the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry regulates the administration of Industrial Property in Nigeria. The IPO is set up as a department under the Ministry of Trade and Investment (formerly Ministry of Trade and Commerce) and is responsible for the management of Trademarks, Patents and Designs applications in Nigeria.


There are two principal officers namely Minister of Trade and Investment, and, the Registrar of Patents and Design appointed by the Civil Service Commission for the effective management of the patent administration. The Minister is charged with responsibilities which empowers him to monitor the Department. The Minister may make rules by regulating the manner in which the Registrar of Patents and Designs shall maintain and make entries in the register, and containing such administrative or procedural provisions as appear to him to be necessary or expedient in order to facilitate the operation of this Act. TRADEMARKS


The Minister of Industries, with the approval of the President, may make rules establishing schemes to encourage inventive activity. Further, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, any such scheme may include provision for the payment of grants to persons who have or perfect a thing. Similar power is granted if it appears to have reasonable prospects of inventing or perfecting, important inventions which cannot be further developed for financial reasons[1]. TRADEMARKS


The Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment is committed to providing prompt and satisfactory services delivery consistent with modern innovation and technology as well as raising the profile of Nigeria in the area of intellectual property protection, in a way consistent with best practices across the globe. Nevertheless, the Registry only has the power of examining applications for registration as relates to conformity with legal requirements and not the substantive examination of the patent. The Registry is under the direction of the Minister in-charge of Trade and Investment, who has the power to make rules relating patents. Paragraph 16 of the First Schedule to the Patent and Design Act provides:





The authority of a Minister under paragraph 15 of this Schedule may be given (a) before or after the relevant patent has been granted (b) before or after the doing of the acts in respect of which the authority is given and (c) to any person whether or not he is authorized directly or indirectly by the patentee to make, use, exercise or vend the relevant articles or invention. TRADEMARKS


Paragraph 15-17 of the First Schedule of Patent and Design Act jointly read provides:


  • the government (b) any person authorized under those paragraph as above (c) any supplier of the government or of any such persons, and any agent of any such supplier from liability for the infringement of any patent relating to the relevant article or invention and from liability to make any payment to the patentee by way of royalty or otherwise.

The paragraph also denies the patentee benefit of royalty to keep the patent afloat especially as was the case of Wellcome Foundation Ltd vs. Lodeka Pharmacy Limited & Anor[2] where the court held that though the letter of the minister was that of exemption and not authority but went ahead to give judgment to the defendant for supply of articles for the government use. Both provision and the judgment were not favourable for patentee rather a denial of benefit. Patentee needs money or resources to pay for yearly renewal of the patent and enjoying his creativity but with these provisions and case law, he is handicapped. TRADEMARKS







[1] Patent and Designs Act, Cap. P2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004

[2] (1970)NLR 536

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