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Duration of Intellectual Properties In Nigeria.

Duration of Intellectual Properties In Nigeria.

By Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)


Like any other property, intellectual property is a great asset. A man’s trading name can be worth more than his landed property. By the way, “Intellectual Property” is a collection of creations of human minds, which includes Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications and Trade Secrets. Intellectual Property is everything a bankable property like shares, lands, commodities and forex. 

Just like land allocations in Nigeria exist for a certain period of time (often for 99 years), intellectual properties have various validity durations. This work will expose the various validity periods of intellectual properties in Nigeria, like Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents and Industrial Designs. 

Classes of Intellectual Properties:

“Copyright” covers literary and artistic works like books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings. Copyright is a governed in Nigeria by the COPYRIGHT ACT, 1988. 

“Patent” is a protection given to inventors for their works, giving them right to determine who uses their work and how, while the technical information on the invention is made public by the inventor. The law that regulates patent in Nigeria is the PATENTS AND DESIGNS ACT, 1971.

“Industrial Designs” cover the combination of lines or colours or both, and any three- dimensional form, intended to be used as a model/pattern to be multiplied by industrial process. Industrial designs is regulated by a federal law, the PATENTS AND DESIGNS ACT, 1971. 

“Trademark” is a distinctive sign, mark, symbol or indicator which distinguishes goods and services of an enterprise (individual, company) or any legal entity from those of others in a given class. It could be in the form of words, letters, numbers, drawings, shapes, labels, colours, pictures or combination of all or some of the above elements. Trade mark is an intellectual property that is registrable under the law and protected by the law. An unauthorised use of a trademark is actionable in law. In Nigeria, trademarks are protected under the TRADE MARKS ACT, 1967.

Effect and Duration of Registration:

Below are the four common intellectual properties and their various effects and durations in Nigeria. 

Copyrights: Ownership, Use & Transfer of literary works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph works, sound recording and broadcasts of businesses. Natural registration and deliberate notification. Lasts for 70 years for literary, musical and artistic works apart from photos. Then, lasts for 50 years for cinematograph films, photographs, sound recordings and broadcasts. 

Industrial Designs: Ownership, Use & Transfer of any new combination of lines or colours or both, and any three- dimensional form, intended to be used as a model/pattern to be multiplied by industrial process. Certificate lasts for 5 years and upon renewal for another term of 10 years. 

Patents: Ownership, Use & Transfer of new Inventions, discoveries, products and processes. Registration lasts for 20 years without an option of renewal. 

Trademark: Use & Transfer of distinctive names, words, colours, logos, crests, flags, badges, symbols, pictures, shapes, signs, patterns, formations, processes, drawings or combination of all or some of the above elements of businesses. Registration lasts for 7 years after registration. Subsequently, lasts for terms 14 years after each renewal. 

Conclusion and Recommendation: 

Intellectual Property is an asset. It is wise to always register them, renew them and keep them safe at all times. 

My authorities, are:

  1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 16, 318 and 319 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
  2. Sections 1, 2, 5, 6 and 24 of Copyright Act, 1988. 
  3. Section 1, 2, 3, 22 and 23 of the Trademark Act, 1967
  4. Section 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 20 of the Patent and Designs Act, 1971. 
  5. Onyekachi Umah, “Registration of Trademarks In Nigeria” (, 11 March 2016) <> accessed 16 November 2020. 
  6. Onyekachi Umah, “Nigerian Businesses and the Need for Corporate, Copyrights, Trade Marks, Industrial Designs and Patents Registrations” (, 19 July 2018) < > accessed 16 November 2020. 
  7. Onyekachi Umah, “Copyright, Trademark, Industrial Designs & Patent Registration; Prospects For Lawyers In Nigeria” (, 30 July 2018) < > accessed 16 November 2020
  8. Onyekachi Umah, “Duration of Copyrights In Nigeria” (, 4 October 2018) < > accessed 16 November 2020. 
  9. Onyekachi Umah, “Every Work That Is Eligible For Copyright In Nigeria Is Conferred Copyright Even Without A Registration” (, 6 September 2018) < > accessed 16 November 2020. 










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