Comprehensive Guide to Registration of Industrial Designs in Nigeria

Registration of Industrial Designs in Nigeria

Comprehensive Guide on Registration of Industrial Designs in Nigeria [2024 Update]

How to register Industrial Designs in Nigeria


Overview of Industrial Designs in Nigeria

Industrial designs consists of any combination of lines or colours or both, and three-dimensional form which is intended by the creator to be used as a model or pattern to be multiplied by industrial process. Industrial Designs relate to the appearance and aesthetics of a product, which gives it its special form. An Industrial Design can be two-dimensional or three-dimensional in shape; an example is the shape of a bottle of Fanta or the aesthetic pattern on a piece of clothing. Industrial Designs differ from other intellectual property because it seeks to protect only the visual aspects of a product, not its technical aspects.

In Nigeria, Industrial Designs is protected by the Patents and Designs Act, 1971, which provides for its registration, protection and enforcement.

Types of Industrial Designs

In Nigeria, Industrial Designs can be classified into two for purposes of registration:

  1. Textiles
  2. Non-Textiles

Registrable designs and Criteria for Registration of Industrial Designs in Nigeria

In Nigeria, an applicant can file an application to register their Industrial Design under the following circumstances:

  1. It is new
  2. It is not contrary to public order or morality.

To meet the specified criterion of newness, an industrial design the owner is trying to apply to register must not have been made available to the public anywhere and at any time. Where the creator has done this, the Registrar may reject the application unless satisfied that the creator could not have known it had been made available publicly. Furthermore, where the creator has exhibited the design in an official or officially recognized exhibition, the design can still satisfy the requirement of newness.

Can an Applicant file Multiple Design Applications?

The answer is no. Each application must be in respect of a specific Design, not multiple Designs.

Who can file an Industrial Design Application in Nigeria?

The right to file an Industrial Design application in Nigeria is vested in the Statutory Creator, ie the person who is the first to file the application, whether or not he is the true creator of the Design. Where the true creator is not the statutory creator [the applicant] he is entitled to be so named in the Register. This right earned by the true creator cannot be modified by contract.

Registration Process and Procedure

This section will explain the steps involved in filing an application for registration of industrial design, the duration and renewal of protection, and grounds for refusal or cancellation of registration

Requirements needed for an application for registration of Industrial Designs

An applicant who wishes to file an application for the registration of their Design in Nigeria should prepare all the necessary documentation before commencing the application process which must contain:

  1. Request for registration of the Design
  2. The applicant’s full name and address. If the applicant’s address is outside Nigeria, then he should provide an address for service in Nigeria
  3. A specimen of the Design or Graphic or photographic representations of the Design
  4. Power of Attorney authorizing agent to file application for you. Take note that the Power of Attorney does not need to be notarized.
  5. Certified copy of Priority Document with sworn translation if not in English [in the case of a foreign application where the applicant is claiming foreign priority]
  6. An indication of the kind of product [or class of product where a classification has been prescribed] for which the intended Design will be used
  7. Prescribed application fee
  8. Declaration signed by the true creator requesting that he be named as such in the Register, with his name and address

Foreign Priority applications

Nigeria allows for foreign priority applications to be made in respect of the registration of industrial designs. Priority applications are made in respect of foreign Design applications made in other countries, for which the applicant wishes to take advantage of, in Nigeria. Such priority applications where made must be accompanied by a Written Declaration show the date and number of the earlier application, the country where he made the earlier application, and the name of the applicant who made the earlier application in the foreign country. Not more than three months after applying in Nigeria, he must furnish a copy of the earlier application certified correct by the Industrial Property Office in the country where he made the earlier application.

Examination of Design

There is a formal examination for Industrial design applications to ensure they conform to all necessary requirements for registration and that all necessary documentation accompanies the application. Where an application satisfies the requirements, the Design will be registered without need for further examination by the Registrar. This examination process is also applicable to applications where the applicant is claiming foreign priority.

International and Regional Protection for Industrial Design

Many applicants are interested in finding out whether they can obtain protection for industrial designs beyond Nigeria, such as under African Regional Intellectual Property Organization [ARIPO] or the Hague System. Unfortunately, Nigeria is not a signatory to ARIPO nor the Hague System, so industrial design applications in Nigeria is territorial to Nigeria ONLY. An applicant seeking protection for their Designs under other jurisdictions will have to apply for protection under those Systems and in different jurisdictions.

Duration of Industrial Design protection

Upon the approval of the registration of an industrial design, the said Design will be valid for a period of five years from the date of registration, and can be renewed further for two consecutive five-year periods from the end of the first five years validity period. That means that an Industrial Design is valid for a total period of fifteen years in Nigeria.


While Nigeria affords IP rights owners the opportunity to register and commercialize their IP, there is a need for Nigeria to revisit its laws and regulations in relation in Industrial Designs, to at least accommodate some international treaties that can allow applicants apply for multi-jurisdictional protection of their IP with one application.


If you are a inventor/designer, or a manufacturing company, or international law firm seeking local counsel in Nigeria seeking the registration of your industrial designs, we invite you to reach out to us and we will be happy to guide you through the process. Kindly send an email to or call us on +234864231176, or alternatively click the link here to chat us on WhatsApp. We respond to all business enquiries within twenty-four hours.

This article was written as a Thought Leadership post for our Intellectual Property Law practice group with the Patents and Trademarks sub-practices at Kabbiz Legal & Advisory.

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