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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Author of “the Amstel factor,” drags Nigerian breweries to appeal court, faults high court judgement

An author, Paul Allen Oche has appealed the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja in his suit against the Nigerian Breweries Plc over alleged infringement of his intellectual literary work.

Oche had in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/145/2019 accused Nigerian Breweries Plc of copyright infringement of his intellectual literary work titled “The Amstel Factor,” an Amstel Malta Guide on how to be the best you can be.

Other defendants in the suit are” D.D.B. South Africa, Sampson Oloche and Heineken BV, Netherlands.

The plaintiff had also prayed the court to declare that he is the only person entitled to grant to the defendants, or any other party, the right to use the intellectual literary work contained in the book titled “The Amstel Factor” or permit the derivative adaptation of the book to be published to the public in any form.

 

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The author had also asked the court to declare that the settings, scenes, imageries used in the defendants’ “Why Add More?” Amstel Malta brand product campaign constitutes an infringement on his copyright in the corresponding setting, scenes, imageries and even words.

He stated that the defendants neither sought nor obtained his authorisation to adapt and publish his intellectual literary work in their “Why Add More?” campaign.

He asked the court to award him N500 million as general damages for the unlawful infringement of his intellectual literary work.

Similarly, Oche prayed the court for N1 billion as aggravated and exemplary damages against the defendants jointly and severally for unlawfully, capriciously, maliciously and contemptuously infringing on his copyright in the intellectual literary work titled “The Amstel Factor” an Amstel Malta Guide on how to be the best you can be.

 

But in her ruling delivered on June 21, 2021, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja had struck out the suit on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to exhibit his registration of the said copyright.

Nyako had said: “I have searched the entire originating process of the Plaintiff and I have failed to find any place where he has exhibited his registration of the said Copyright. This is what confers the locus standi on the Plaintiff to institute this suit in the first place.

“Without foreclosing the Plaintiff’s right, to register his work, I would say that this state his case is inchoate and is liable to be struck out for this reason.”

In his appeal signed by A Igelige Esq, Oche urged the appeal court to set aside the decision and order of the lower court.

He also prayed the court for an order remitting the case to the Federal High Court, Abuja for hearing before another Judge.

The appellant, through his team of lawyers, R A Igelige, Emokiniovo Dafe-Akpedeye and I. E. Onokowhake, argued that neither the Copyright Act, Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 nor the Bene Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Work, 1886 which Nigeria is signatory to requires the owner of a literary work subject to copyright to register the copyright over such literary work before he can be clothed with locus standi to sue for infringement on the copyright over such literary work.

The appellant stated that as the owner of the literary work titled “The Amstel Factor” An Amstel Malta Guide on how to be the best you can be” he has the locus standi to sue for infringement on the copyright over the work.

He urged the appellate court to hold that his case is not inchoate, allow the appeal and set aside the decision and order of the lower court.

He also prayed the court for an order remitting the case to the Federal High Court, Abuja for hearing before another judge.

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