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The Nigerian Trademark Office (TMO) commenced online applications of IP matters in 2012 as a result of the failure of the old manual system of filing applications. The new online system made filing of applications easy and accessible with the introduction of an online filing platform. In 2021, the TMO launched a new filing platform as a replacement and improvement to the first platform launched in 2012. The new platform introduced various new features.

Ironically these new features have now posed challenges for ease in migration from the previous old platform to the new platform. Though, it could be argued that the new platform has significantly lessened the difficulties in filing and processing applications, however, recently a few challenges have arisen that has ultimately brought the flow of applications to a grinding halt.

Registration/payment of sealing fees

In Nigeria as in other jurisdictions, the registration of trademarks is processed after the expiration of the statutory opposition period of two months. This simply implies that regardless of when the payment of sealing fees by an Applicant, the registration of the trademark cannot be processed until the expiration of the statutory period. The essence is to prevent issuance of registration certificate for trademarks that may be opposed.


On the 21st of October 2021, the first trademarks journal featuring applications filed via the new IPO platform was published. The opposition period has since elapsed in December 2021 which means that applicants may proceed to make payments for registration certificates. This has proven to be an impossible feat at the moment due to the inadequate provision for payment of sealing fees on the new platform. Since, online applications cannot be processed manually, applicants and IPO agents are left with no recourse.

Lack of provision for Recordals

The new platform does not have a provision for processing recordals, from change of name, address, assignments, merger etc. This has caused several backlogs as these applications cannot be processes since the launch of the new platform.

Change of Agent

Another major hurdle is takeover of applications. The new IPO platform design makes it impossible for applications filed by one agent to be accessed by another agent. This feature becomes a major concern when an Applicant changes its agents. The new agent is unable to access the filing information of the application. For instance, a new agent on record cannot make payment for sealing fees for trademarks filed by a different agent at the application stage.

The fanfare that came with the introduction of the new platform has now been replaced with outcry by Staff and Stakeholders at the TMO. Since the expiration of the statutory opposition period for the two trademark journals published last year, 2021, applicants are expected to proceed with the registration of their trademarks. This process has now been halted by the inept new platform and there seems to be no solution in sight. This has brought filing and processing affected applications to a standstill. It is imperative that the TMO rectifies this anomaly as soon as possible in order to avoid further unnecessary delays and backlogs of applications at the TMO.





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