An Introduction to the Nigerian Patent System

Nigeria, like many countries around the world, offers a patent system to incentivize innovation and protect intellectual property. This system grants inventors exclusive rights to their inventions for a limited period, allowing them to benefit from their creativity.

Who Administers Patents in Nigeria?

The Patents Registry, a department within the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, is responsible for administering patent protection in Nigeria. The primary legislation governing patent registration is the Patents and Designs Act of 1971.

International Agreements

Nigeria is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which guarantees minimum standards for patent protection across member states. Additionally, Nigeria is a signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which simplifies the process of filing patent applications in multiple countries.

What Can’t Be Patented in Nigeria?

The Nigerian patent system excludes certain categories of inventions from patent protection. These include:

  • Plant or animal varieties, or biological processes for producing plants or animals (except for microbiological processes)
  • Scientific principles and discoveries

The Patent Application Process

There are two methods for filing patent applications in Nigeria: manual and online. Only registered agents or the inventor themselves can submit applications. The application must be in English and include:

  • A detailed description of the invention
  • Claims outlining the scope of protection sought
  • Drawings (if applicable)
  • An abstract summarizing the invention

Patent Examination

The Nigerian Patent Registry carefully reviews applications to ensure they meet the legal requirements for patenting. This includes checking for completeness of information and adherence to formal guidelines.  If an application falls short of these requirements, the Registry may reject it.

Granting a Patent

Once the application meets all the formal requirements, the patent is granted. The patent provides the inventor with exclusive rights to make, use, sell, or import the invention for a period of 20 years.

Compulsory Licensing

In specific situations, the Nigerian government may issue compulsory licenses for patented inventions. This allows others to produce the invention without the patent holder’s consent, often in cases of national emergencies or to address public health concerns.


Nigeria’s patent system offers a valuable tool for inventors to protect their creations and reap the rewards of their innovation. Understanding the process and requirements for obtaining a patent in Nigeria is crucial for inventors seeking to secure their intellectual property rights.

Have Questions? This guide provides a foundational understanding of patents in Nigeria. We encourage you to leave your specific questions in the comments below. Our team will be happy to address them and offer further insights.

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