Patents and Designs Act
Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990
An Act to make comprehensive provisions for the registration and proprietorship of Patents and Designs in
Nigeria and other matter ancillary thereto
1st December 1971
(1) Subject to this section, an invention is patentable(a) if it is new, results from inventive activity and is capable of industrial application; or
(b) if it constitutes an improvement upon a patented invention and also is new, results from inventive
activity and is capable of industrial application.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section(a) an invention is new if it does not form part of the state of the art,
(b) an invention results from inventive activity if it does not obviously follow from the state of the art,
either as to the method, the application, the combination of methods, or the product which it
concerns, or as to the industrial result it produces; and
(c) an invention is capable of industrial application if it can be manufactured or used in any kind of
industry, including agriculture.
(3) In subsection (2) of this section, "the art" means the art or field of knowledge to which an invention
relates and "the state of the art" means everything concerning that art or field of knowledge which has
been made available to the public anywhere and at any time whatever (by means of a written or oral
description, by use or in any other way) before the date of the filing of the patent application relating to
the invention or the foreign priority date validly claimed in respect thereof, so however that an invention
shall not be deemed to have been made available to the public merely by reason of the fact that, within
the period of six months preceding the filing of a patent application in respect of the invention, the
inventor or his successor in title has exhibited it in an official or officially recognised international
(4) Patents cannot be validly obtained in respect of(a) plant or animal varieties, or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals
(other than microbiological processes and their products); or
(b) inventions the publication or exploitation of which would be contrary to public order or morality (it
being understood for the purposes of this paragraph that the exploitation of an invention is not
contrary to public order or morality merely because its exploitation is prohibited by law).
(5) Principles and discoveries of a scientific nature are not inventions for the purposes of this Act.
2. (1) Subject to this section, the right to a patent in respect of an invention is vested in the statutory inventor,
that is to say, the person who, whether or not he is the true inventor, is the first to file, or validly to claim a
foreign priority for, a patent application in respect of the invention.
(2) The true inventor is entitled to be named as such in the patent, whether or not he is also the statutory
inventor, and, the entitlement in question shall not be modifiable by contract.