Patenting Inventions through NOTAP
The National Office has been mandated to assist in the patenting of all inventions and innovations carried out by government funded Research Institutes and others in the Private sector. In doing this, NOTAP through its information network provides the following services:
(i.) Link the inventors with Patent Offices allover the world
(ii.) Assist inventors in drafting patent applications covering the invention in question.
(iii.) Process patent application through Industrial Property Offices.
The modern Nigerian law on patent is governed by the Patents and Design Acts Cap. 344 of the law of the Federation of Nigeria 1990(Act of 1970).It is administered by the Registrar of patent, trademark and industrial design which is under the umbrella of the Federal Ministry of Commerce, Abuja.
The law provides that a patent may be granted for an invention that:
- is new
- involves an inventive step (not obvious)
- is capable of industrial application (useful)
- is not specifically excluded in the Act (e.g inventions the publication of which may encourage immoral and offensive behaviour)
- An address for service in Nigeria if the applicant's address is outside Nigeria.
- An application must date only to one invention but may cover claims for any number of products or processes.
If you have a convention application, that is an application claiming priority on the basis of an earlier application to register the patent made in a foreign country. By virtue of the patent and designs convention order 1971, .which provided that if the Nigerian application is made within 12 months of the making of the earlier application in the foreign convention country, such application will be treated as having been made on the same date on which the corresponding foreign application was made. An applicant seeking foreign priority to his
application will complete (form IB),a written declaration showing:
- The date and the number of the earlier application:
- The country in which such application was made ;and
- The name of the person who made it.
Furthermore, not more than 3 months after filing the application, the applicant must furnish the Registrar with a copy of the earlier application, certified correct by the appropriate industrial property office of the foreign convention country.
Procedure for Patent Registration
Whether an invention is a product or process, the same registration procedure is adopted. Application for the grant of patent is made to the registrar of Patent and Industrial designs which is under the Federal Ministry of Commerce, Abuja. The application consists of:
- A petition or request for a patent with the applicant’s full name and address (form 1A)
- A signed power of attorney authorization of agent if the application is made by an agent (form 2)
- A specification including a claim or claims in duplicate (form 3)
- Plans and drawings if any in duplicate.
- A declaration by the true inventor where applicable
After Examiniation, the patent application is examined by the Registrar merely to ascertain formal compliance. Once the application satisfies the statutory requirements as to the completion of form, payment of appr9priate fees, it dates to only one invention, the Registrar is likely to grant the patent without enquiries to its novelty, inventiveness and industrial applicability or whether the specification sufficiently discloses the invention. Patents are granted at the risk of the patentee and without guarantee as to their validity. In other words, Nigerian law docs not recognize substantive examination. This is one weakness levied against the system.