The Trademark Opposition Goldmine in Nigeria – How to Dig and Why to Dig


When Shakespeare penned the lines “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, he was making the point that, while names may serve to distinguish things and people from others, such names do not in themselves improve the things distinguished.

Although one would not be quick to criticize such a great patron of the literary arts, it does need to be mentioned that, with regards to brands and trademarks, the name ascribed can enhance consumer experience. This has been extensively researched and proven multiple times.[1]

It is in recognition of the great importance of a product or service name that the law has put in place, measures for the protection of trade marks – particularly measures to prevent the use or registration of a trademark which is confusingly similar to a trademark owned by another.

Even where the law has made such protective provisions, it is still behoved upon the brand owner to seek out infringers and to apply the mechanism of the law to inhibit the violation of their trademark rights.  However, how can a brand owner prevent or stop this, unless the perpetrators have given an indication of their intention or taken some suspicious steps? Where do you start the search for a needle in the haystack when infringers could be gaining grounds and encroaching on your rights beyond your vision field?

A great place to begin would be to take advantage of the trade mark opposition process. Although one may ask, what is the trademark opposition process and how can it be utilized in the protection of your brand? This article aims to provide some answers to these questions whilst offering insights into the mechanism of both the opposition and the registration processes.


Situating Opposition Within the Trademark Registration Process

Before discussing the Trade mark Opposition process, it is beneficial to first situate it within the process of trademark registration. In Nigeria, the registration of a trademark goes through the phases which are briefly stated below:

  • The first stage is the filing of the trademark application through an accredited trademarks agent in respect of goods in a particular class, as prescribed under the Nigerian Trade Marks Act. An Acknowledgement Form is then issued as proof that the application has been received by the Trade Marks Registry.[2]

Read the full article.

[1] For instance, see the article by Åsa Nyström the VP of Customer Advocacy at Buffer on “The Research Behind How Brand Names Impact Customers and What Name We’ve Changed at Buffer” accessible at