Yes, a foreigner can register a trademark in Nigeria. Nigeria operates a “free-market” economy, as such, foreign companies or personnel can set up their businesses, and acquire trademark licenses in the country. While that’s the case, it is important that said foreign brand fulfills some obligations which include, but are not limited to;
- Offer their products and/or services to citizens within the country.
- Have at least a branch within the country.
- Use the country’s currency (Naira) when selling their products and/or services within the country.
Meanwhile, it’s usually easier for foreign companies to get a trademark after getting a CAC license within the country. This way, they’re already a registered entity within Nigeria and pay taxes, allowing smooth processing of the trademark registration.
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Requirements for Trademark Registration in Nigeria
These requirements are also applicable to companies based abroad, but operating in Nigeria.
- Documents of identification of the applicant/proprietor.
- Document showing the applied/proposed trademark
- Identification of class and specification of goods and/or services to be registered in the trademark
- Authorization agent (a lawyer) to oversee their proceedings with the Nigerian Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry.
Registering a Trademark using Business Permit – Expatriate Quota and Work Permit.
Aside from using a CAC to aid the registration of your trademark as a foreign body in Nigeria, you can also obtain a business permit from the Nigerian Ministry of Interior and Expatriate Quotas – this is most advisable when you wish to employ foreigners to work for your brand within the country.
The business permit is an invitation of the foreign body to conduct their activities in Nigeria, as such they can raise a complaint when someone else tries to use the same or a similar trademark as theirs within the country. More so, other businesses are likely to back out when they see that a company with a similar name, is already in operation in the country.