To register a patent, a search must first be carried out to make sure that the product is original and that it has not already been patented. This is very important so as to avoid patenting an already existing product. The fact that your product is not in the market yet does not mean that something similar to it does not already have patent rights. This is why a search is very necessary before going ahead with the registration of a patent.
Once the search has been completed and it shows that the product or anything similar to it has not been registered, the inventor is free to go ahead and proceed with registration. To register the patent, an application should be made to the Registrar of Patent, Trademark and Industrial Design and the application must contain the following:
- The applicant’s full name and address. If the applicant’s address is outside Nigeria, then a Nigerian address will be needed.
- A full description of the invention that needs to be patented. This may include plans and drawings, where necessary.
- A claim or statement that describes the particular protection or rights which the applicant wants.
- Any other thing which may be required, depending on the details of the application.
Apart from the application, the inventor of the product will also be required to do the following:
- Pay the required fee
- Write a statement asking that his name (applicant) should be mentioned as the true and original inventor of the product together with his address, where necessary.
- If a lawyer applies for the patent on behalf of the inventor, a signed Power of Attorney will be needed. This means that the inventor must sign a Power of Attorney giving the lawyer the power and right to apply for the patent on his behalf.
Upon submission, the patent application is inspected by the Registrar to ensure that all the rules have been obeyed. Once the Registrar is satisfied that all the rules have been obeyed, the applicant can go ahead and pay the necessary fees.
Once the owner of an invention has been granted a patent in a particular country, he is free to use his rights as he pleases. He has the legal right to use or sell the invention in that country for a fixed period of time and he can also prevent other people from benefiting and making profits from his creativity without his permission. He may use the rights himself for his own benefit or may even decide to grant the patent rights to another person in exchange for an acceptable amount of money. The invention must however be used for profit making within the specified period of time.
It should be noted that patent rights acquired in a particular country is not applicable in other countries. It is only valid in the country that granted the patent rights. If the inventor wishes to use the invention in another country, he must file a fresh application for the patent to be effective. The inventor will also be required to pay the necessary fees to the appropriate patent authority and where he fails to do so; his patent rights may be lost. The patent rights should be renewed as often as the law requires.