A mark is used or proposed to be used in relation to goods for the purpose of indicating, or so as to indicate, a connection in the course of trade between the goods and some person having the right either as proprietor or registered user to use the mark whether with or without any indication of the identity of the person.
Registration of a Trade Mark entitles the proprietor to institute proceedings for the infringement of Trade Marks and accordingly obtain damages. However this does not prejudice an applicants right to sue for passing off under common law (APPLICABLE IN SOME WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES).
What are Service Marks?
A Service Mark can be described as a design, symbol, word, character, colour, shape, slogan which identifies a particular service of one undertaking as distinct from those of another undertaking.
The Procedure for Trade Mark Applications:
- Petition or request with applicants full name and address.
- Nationality or Country of Incorporation of Applicant Company.
- Diagrammatical representation of the Trade Mark.
- List of Specified Goods.
- Signed Power of Attorney.
- Applicants address for service in country/region of filing.
- Prescribed fee.
- Other matters as may be required by the Registrar of Trade Marks.
An individual or Company that claims to be the proprietor of a Trade Mark either being used or proposed to be used and who intends to register a Trade Mark must first apply, in writing, to the Registrar of Trade Marks using the prescribed form, including a simply signed Power of Attorney Document (if through an agent) and diagrammatic representations.
The Registrar of Trade Marks has discretion to refuse, accept unconditionally or accept conditional upon amendments and or limitations as he deems fit.
Where a Trade Mark is refused or conditionally accepted, an applicant may request that the Registrar states in writing the grounds of his decision and the materials used by him in arriving at his decision. The decision may be contested. Upon acceptance, of an application for the registration of a Trade Mark, the Registrar shall cause notice of the application as accepted to be published.
Opposition to the registration of a Trade Mark may be lodged within a few months (depending on the Jurisdiction) from the date of publication of the Journal. The notice of opposition to a Trade Mark must be writing, in the prescribed form, to the Registrar of Trade Marks and must include a statement of the grounds of opposition. In response the applicant attorney is entitled to file a counter-statement upon receipt of the notice of the opposition, setting out the grounds upon which he relies for his application. Failure to do so will render the application abandoned. Once the Registrar of Trade Marks receives a notice of opposition and counter-statement he is mandated to issue a Ruling.
If an application for the registration of a Trade Mark in neither refused or opposed, then the Trade Mark shall be registered as of the date of the application for registration, and that date shall be taken for the purposes of the Act to be the date of registration.
Upon registration a Certificate of Registration is issued in the prescribed form. Validity depends on the Jurisdiction.
Grant of Trade Mark:
Once satisfied that the Trade Mark application is in conformity with all statutory requirements the Registrar issues a document which states:
After the grant of the Trade the Registrar enters the particulars of the grant in the Register of Trade Marks.
Rights Conferred by the Grant:
1. The right to preclude any other from utilizing that Trade Mark under the specified Class of goods.
GRF TRADEMARK SERVICES
G.R.F. Trade Mark services apply to the following regional schemes (click on any of the items in the list to learn more) OAPI (African Intellectual Property Organization): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.