Trademark is any word, logo or symbols used for representing a company or its products. Most companies already understand the importance and benefits of registering corporate brands as trademarks in the Nigeria and other regions in which they trade. Therefore it is important for every company to protect their chosen brand or product name. One of the ways to protect their corporate brands is by exploring trademark watch.

Trademark watch services entails monitoring new trademark applications filed at the trademark registry, notifying marks owners of any similar or identical marks to ensure that they have adequate time to prepare for opposition and issue a cease and desist letter to the owner of the newly filed identical mark.

The most important reason for exploring trademark watch service in Nigeria is that the earlier trademark misuse is identified, the easier it is for the companies to enforce their trademark rights. To identify this, keeping an eye over the new trademark applications filed is very important.

An early deduction is also important when it comes to identifying and monitoring the market space or brands at risk and for building up evidence of infringement to be used when instituting an action for infringements.

It is important to mention that it is not enough to register a mark or corporate brand with the trademark registry for protection, but a further step must be taken to ensure that the valuable marks are protected and enforced to ensure that new applications are monitored to prevent the registration of any similar or identical marks.

One of the steps of registering a trademark is a Publication of Registered Trademarks in the Trademark Journal. This journal is published by the Ministry quarterly. When the Journal is published, the proprietor of marks or its agents is required to obtain copies of the journals published to watch out for marks registered. The purpose is to look out for what competitors are registering whether it is identical or similar to an existing mark and to raise an opposition where a similar or identical mark is being registered.

What to watch and where to watch

A company or a brand owner’s trademark watching strategy should cover all relevant trademark registers to identify newly filed applications for identical and similar trademarks, as well as explore the wider internet monitoring, for instance, to identify the sale of counterfeit goods on auction and social media sites and other possible damage to a brand or reputation.

Publication of trademarks in the Trademark Journal published by the Registry is an avenue for trademark watch. All newly filed trademarks are published in the journal; it is also a step for completing the trademark registration.

Upon publication in the trademark journal, where a mark owner can identify a similar or identical mark, oppositions are expected to be raised timeously. In some cases oppositions are raised 30 days from publication of a conflicting mark in the journal.

Also, there are a lot of marks registered at the Trademark Registry daily; it is not advisable to leave a trademark for an examiner to search during the registration process because it can be strenuous and sometimes judgment may not be precise. The job of the Examiner and registrar is to protect existing trademarks, but to ensure that due diligence is carried out in the trademark watch, the new trademark applications must also be monitored by individual brand and mark owners.

Therefore in conclusion, to protect a brand, the owner should keep a watch over the potential dangers of infringement towards his logos, symbols, words and act accordingly against the harms of trademark infringements. Finally, trademark watch is very important in order to avoid any copying of the symbols, marks and for the timely detection of any infringements that may be detrimental for a business.