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The Pros and Cons of the proposed New Trademark Online Filing Platform in Nigeria.


There are two filing systems in Nigeria, the Online filing system and IPAS, the Intellectual Property Automated System. These systems are channels used by applicants to file trademark and other maintenance applications in Nigeria. The systems were introduced in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Prior to 2012, trademark applications in Nigeria were filed manually (paper filings). Though functional, this system was slow, problematic and rift with losses and mismanagement of documents. Agents faced numerous challenges, hence the intervention of the supervising Ministry.   


The Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Supervising Ministry of the Registries, in September, 2012 introduced the online filing system for the first time in Nigeria in order to tackle the problems associated with the manual system.  

The first online platform created under this system was user-friendly and highly functional with an easy-to-use interface for both the agents and the staff.

However, in September 2020, a second and the current online platform was introduced with the aim to upgrade the old platform. Unfortunately, instead of improving on the first platform, the current platform has fallen short of expectation, creating and generating more problems at various turns rather than resolving them.  


The current filing platform turned into misery for everyone, though compared to the manual system of filing Trademark applications, it is relatively a better system, but a far cry from the first online platform.  

However, it can boast of automatic issuance of filing receipts at the time of filing the application and issuance of registration certificates within a reasonable timeframe. Otherwise, the platform is a massive failure.    

Really Bad

As much as that a few changes were made on the current online platform, Agents and Staff are faced with numerous challenges from using the platform. They problems include:

1. Disappearance of Trademark Applications after payment of filing fees without trace and no means of retrieving the application or payment.    

2. Agents are unable to file recordal applications, such as assignment, merger, etc. as no such provisions was made on the platform  

3. Notices of opposition cannot be filed through the platform

4. Searches cannot be conducted on the platform.  

5. Inability to access applications made on the old filing platform.

6. Successful office actions cannot be revised and acceptance letters issued.  

These problems have brought a standstill in what should have been an easy-to-run platform. Worse still, there are no available options and Applicants are left out in the cold.

Third time lucky?

Recently, there have been efforts to introduce a new and a third online platform, with the intention of completely over hauling the current online platform. The Registrar of Trademarks have promised stakeholders that the new platform will address the shortcomings of the current platform. If properly designed, the proposed platform will ensure the smooth processing of applications.  

However, a failure to properly address the shortcomings of the current platform in the proposed platform will be another waste of money, time, and a disaster for trademark prosecutions in Nigeria.  

My Take

It is expected that the proposed new online platform will address the problems currently been encountered on the current online platform.

Also, the Registry MUST ensure that both the old, current and proposed platforms are merged or at least a data migration from the the old and current platforms to the proposed platform, therefore making it possible to access trademarks filed at the inception of online system to date.   

Further, the proposed platform MUST provide online publication of trademark journals and completely eliminate paper publications.

Anything less, will be a colossal failure.


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