A Simple Guide to Securing Intellectual Property Assets

//A Simple Guide to Securing Intellectual Property Assets

A Simple Guide to Securing Intellectual Property Assets

In today’s world, ideas from creative individuals and innovators are incredibly valuable. Think about innovations in manufacturing, the booming Nigerian entertainment industry estimated at over $9 billion, and the tech industry contributing more than GBP 67.4 billion to Nigeria’s economy. These ideas are what we call intellectual property (IP) and this was established in Nigeria through the ruling of the court in the case of Oladipo Yemitan v. The Daily Times Nigerian Ltd.

It’s crucial for creators to secure these valuable assets for themselves and their loved ones. Intellectual property laws protect these assets, ensuring that those who invest in creating them reap the benefits.

Understanding Intellectual Property

Intellectual property refers to creative works and ideas that hold commercial value. The primary goal of which is to ensure that the progenitors of intellectual asset are not robbed of their due benefits.

Intellectual property law protects three main kinds of intellectual assets; copyrights, trademarks, and patents.


Copyright, as defined by Section 1 of the Nigerian Copyright Act, covers various works, including literary, musical, artistic, cinematographic, sound recordings, and broadcasts. To claim copyright over any of these works, you must demonstrate that it is originally yours. The courts, as seen in Ladbroke (Football) v. William Hill (Football) Ltd, consider the skill, judgment, and labor invested in the work to determine its originality.

Additionally, Section 2(a)(b) of the Copyright Act requires that the idea be fixed in a tangible medium. This means it must be expressed in a way that can be seen, heard, or perceived. To protect your work, register it with the Nigerian Copyright Commission to prevent unauthorized use.

To secure your work for your beneficiaries, either create a will or establish a trust, as outlined in Section 10 of the Copyright Act. For a trust, execute a Deed of Assignment in favor of the Trustee and register it with the Nigerian Copyright Commission to transfer the rights and proceeds to your beneficiaries in case of any unforeseen circumstances.


Trademarks, as per Section 67 of the Trademarks Act, include names, words, symbols, or marks representing products, services, or brands. To exclusively own and benefit from a trademark, register it with the Registrar of Trademarks, as required by Section 3 of the Trademarks Act. Even if unregistered, you can still protect it through legal action if you can prove it has become associated with you, as seen in legal cases like Trebor Nigeria Limited v. Associated Industries Limited and Niger Chemist Limited v. Nigerian Chemist Limited.

Trademark registration grants several legal rights, including injunctions, damages, goods seizure, and accounting of profits for infringement cases. To protect your beneficiaries, create a will or trust, as the Registrar of Trademark does not recognize a notice of trust (Section 65 of the Trademarks Act). If opting for a trust, assign the trademark to the Trustee via a Deed of Assignment and apply to the Registrar of Trademarks with the Deed of Assignment.


Patents, covering new inventions or improvements, and industrial designs, involving line, color, and three-dimensional forms for industrial processes, are protected under the Patent and Design Act (Section 1). You have to register these creations with the Registrar of Patent and Design to safeguard them from infringement.

In cases like Metropolitan Industries Nigerian Limited v. Industrial Application Nigeria Limited, minor differences between designs can still lead to infringement. Similarly, Section 24 of the Patent and Design Act necessitates a will or trust to secure these assets for beneficiaries.


If intellectual property is jointly owned, you can assign or bequeath your share under Section 10(2) of the Copyright Act, Section 64 of the Trademarks Act, and Section 24 of the Patent and Design Act. Wills or trusts created will pertain to your portion of the jointly owned work.

As you can see, intellectual property holds immense value, and protecting it is essential for both creators and their beneficiaries. Register your intellectual property and establish wills or trusts to ensure that its value is preserved and enjoyed by your loved ones in unforeseen circumstances.

NB: For more details on creating a Trust or Will for your intellectual property, visit UTL Trust Management Services Limited here.

2023-12-18T09:18:07+00:00 December 18th, 2023|0 Comments

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