Lazy…not so lazy Saturday Reads

  1. As a lawyer, it is important to keep your clients informed of matters relating to their brief. Failure to do so may amount to ‘unsatisfactory conduct/unsatisfactory professional conduct’ as held in this Australian case.
  2. We have previously covered the possible implications of Brexit on the IP Community here, but now that the United Kingdom has voted in favour of Brexit following a referendum, it is important to revisit the matter. Numerous articles and announcements have been made by stakeholders in this regard and we have highlighted some for your reading pleasure:

Finally, if any of our readers is confused about Brexit, here is Brexit explained to non-brits because of course, Brits know what Brexit is about anyway.


Lazy…not so lazy Saturday Reads

  1. Identifying the owner of an IP right in an employer-employee relationship can often be tricky, but no worries, this post is here to help you out.
  2. New decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union on what constitutes  ‘communication to the public’.
  3. On sampling in Germany and the United States.
  4. Another feature on Germany by IPKat with this interview of Philipp Schröler about life as an IP lawyer in … (guess where).
  5. Then another IP Lawyer interview. This time, in India. Subject – Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala, founder of Brain League IP Services, BananaIP Counsels and popular IP blog, SiNApSE.
  6. Did you know that an ISP could lose its safe harbour protection if it fails to remove infringing content expeditiously? An analysis of a recent decision by the Rome Court of First Instance in that regard can be found here.
  7. The quest for globally affordable treatment for Hepatitis C is far from over as shown in this analysis of a WHO-led study.
  8. More on India’s new IP policy from someone who is clearly not impressed.

Lazy…not so lazy Saturday Reads

  1. On rating IP Firms – which is the leading IP firm in Nigeria Israel?
  2. I am almost certain that Nigerian IP practitioners can relate with this Brazilian IP Lawyer’s frustrations with delays at the Brazilian PTO.
  3. The recent ruling by a Swedish Supreme Court on Freedom of Panorama has raised some eyebrows. Eleonora has some thoughts on the decision as does Wikimedia.
  4. Quite a long read for this one. The EUIPO released an assessment of how IP is perceived by people between the ages of 15 and 24. Lazy read version aka Executive Summary here or just read this.
  5. This had me chuckling particularly the analysis of the arguments in favour of registering the wordmark in Israel. The author’s last line? Bonkers!

IP and the Church

The Lady has become a tad bit obsessed with Church hence this article and other articles in another part of blogosphere. Must have been the time in Europe that fanned her obsession with the Church. By ‘the Church’, she means the Orthodox Church and more specifically, the Anglican Communion. Stained glasses formed part of my earliest memories of the Church, it’s a shame that most new Church buildings do not have them anymore. The Lady had such great plans of learning the art of glass painting at some Church in England, but alas life!

If you have ever attended an Orthodox Church, you can tell of its richness in culture, arts and traditions. This effect is multiplied when you have been in old buildings like St Paul’s Cathedral and the Westminster Abbey. It is akin to worshipping in history. At least, that was how the Lady felt and still feels. Truth be told, the Lady attended services in this Churches more out of curiosity than the service itself. Since then, the Lady has come to appreciate the Church more and realise the enormous Intellectual Property it sits on.

Trademarks and a bit of Copyright: The name of the Church (parishes) may qualify as trademarks where unique and distinctive, but the Lady doubts that would be the case for Churches named after Saints or revered figures. In the Abuja Diocese for instance, there are two St Matthew’s Anglican Churches. The structures are even somewhat similar. If the names do not qualify, logos such as these will qualify.

Church of Nigeria
Church of Nigeria
Diocese of Lagos West
Diocese of Lagos West

The Lady is aware that some Churches invite submissions for this, but is unaware how the attached rights are dealt with. Nevertheless, such submissions would typically fall under commissioned works for which first ownership of copyright automatically belongs to the author (artist). In the interest of the Church, it should endeavour to have the copyright transferred to itself by contract. It would be awkward for the Church to register a mark for which it does not own the copyright. Use of Church logos are commonplace in publications by the Clergy. For such use, the Lady suggests licensing agreements.

The Church also uses numerous symbols in its order of worship.The protection of these symbols often straddle copyright, trademarks and designs law.

Book of Common Prayer
Anglican Book of Common Prayer

Copyright: The history of the Church is contained in numerous documents and publications, some of which have fallen out of copyright protection. Nevertheless, this Book of Common Prayer (2007) will be protected by copyright as a literary work – compilation in this instance. It does not matter that the content is not original having originated decades ago and the use widespread.

The hymns! You know that’s the best part of the Church, right? The Lady attended a different Church recently and was ready to belt off to popular hymn. Alas, the lyrics had been altered. A remix, you may choose to call it. The Lady wondered if that Church obtained permission from the right-holders. The melody and lyrics of these hymns are protected by copyright. Even when the economic rights lapse, the author* retains moral rights of authorship and integrity. These moral rights are perpetual, inalienable and imprescriptible.

Church Hymnal – Acknowledgment of Copyright Holders

The copyright symbol and notices contained in the Church Hymnal form part of the Lady’s earliest introduction to IP. Compared to the Church Hymnal, this other Church’s hymnal did not contain any copyright notices nor acknowledgments. It appears that the Church (okay, this is getting confusing) takes copyright serious, because it identifies the original composers, alterations made to the lyrics and by whom.

Church Hymnal

Sermons are also protected as literary works. Priests are often employed by the Church in full time or part time roles. Thus, sermons prepared by them are subject to Section 10 of the Copyright Act, which deals with works made in the course of employment. The law is that copyright belongs to the Priests in the first instance unless otherwise stipulated in writing under a contract. Priests who sell compilations of their sermons are therefore in their right unless their contract of employment otherwise stipulates so.

Section 10 will also apply to recordings made of the service and photographs taken. While there are no laws on data and privacy in Nigeria, the Lady is of the opinion that consent should be obtained for photographs in particular. Some would argue implied consent, but the Lady still shoos photographers away in Church and at other events.

With copyright and sale of works comes tax issues in which the Lady is not sufficiently versed and would therefore refer you to this and this.

The stained glasses I mentioned earlier and other art works are also subject to copyright protection. So next time you are in a religious place of worship, take some time to consider works that can be protected as IP.

*This includes his heirs and successors.

Lazy…not so lazy Saturday Reads

Sometimes, the Lady comes across articles (IP-related, of course), that are too good to keep to herself. Inspired by some of her favourite bloggers, the Lady has decided to curate these articles for your reading pleasure. You may want to grab a cuppa tea or some ice cold drink depending on the weather while you read away.

  1. This was my favourite post this week. It had me chanting #DirtyData all day and even now, as I type. I bet you will be chanting #DirtyData by the time you are done reading.
  2. Now, immediately I saw the title, I thought about our very own PMRS/COSON v MCSN. This, however, is a tale of two collecting societies in Trinidad and Tobago.
  3. Can you identify with any of these branding mistakes? I know I can. It’s also useful advice for your clients.
  4. I cannot ignore a post on Monsato. For those familiar with Monsato or who are curious about the company, here are two updates from India. This came first and then Matthews George decided to play devil’s advocate with this post.
  5. If you read my post on bioprinting, you’d know that I am fascinated with 3-D printing. In US, the Supreme Court has been approached to provide some clarity on copyrightable aspects of 3-D printing.
  6. For fashion lovers, here is some perspective on how fashion intersects with IP.
  7. I could literally feel the author’s excitement in having his book ‘featured’ in a movie. Look out for the comment on incidental inclusion.
  8. You know the Lady loves the  Aistemos team right? Here’s another one. This time around, it is about patent statistics as a measure of a country’s innovation and economic growth.
  9. Could not decide my favourite on the QMJIP blog. Read all, maybe?


Looking for IP Texts with a Nigerian Focus?

Recently, the Lady was transported back to her undergraduate years whilst arranging her library. The year that marked her journey in IP to be precise. She recalls searching frantically for a text on IP before classes commenced. To put things in perspective, she had no author or title in mind. It took a while before any of the booksellers offered her anything useful. She eventually bought her very first IP text and it was authored by F. O. Babafemi. Of course, by the time classes commenced, she was pretty much the only person with an IP Text and it turned out to be the recommended text. Not that there were any others per se. 

Over the years, her library has expanded to include other IP texts authored by Nigerians and foreigners alike. Today, she will be sharing with you her recommended texts for those who wish to learn more about IP Law in Nigeria (and probably are as clueless as she was then).

Here goes:

  1. F. O. Babafemi: Intellectual Property – The Law and Practice of Copyright, Trademarks, Patents and Industrial Designs in Nigeria. 1st ed. (Publisher: Justinian Books)
  2. Folarin Shyllon: Intellectual Property in Nigeria (IIC Studies, Studies in Intellectual Property and Copyright Law, Vol. 21) (Publisher: C.H. Beck)
  3. Bankole Sodipo: Piracy and Counterfeiting – GATT-TRIPS and Developing Countries (Publisher: Kluwer International)
  4. J. O. Asein: Nigerian Copyright Law and Practice. 2nd ed. (Publishers: Books and Gavel)
  5. Adebambo Adewopo: Nigerian Copyright System – Principles and Perspectives. (Publishers: Odade Publishers)
  6. Adebambo Adewopo: Intellectual Property Rights in Nigeria – Law and Development (Publishers: NIALS Press)
  7. NIALS Journal of IP (NJIP) – This is a bi-annual peer-review Journal published by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. The Institute also has an  IP Centre and will be running an IP Management Course in Lagos, Nigeria between 18-20 July, 2016. The NIALS Calendar 2016  also contains details of other programmes that may interest you.

A number of articles by Nigerian authors such as Ayoyemi Lawal – Arowolo, Kunle Ola and Ufuoma Barbara Akpotaire can also be found on SSRN.

More suggestions are welcome as this list is based on the Lady’s Library.

Random Musings from the Manor – Specialising in IP as a Nigerian Lawyer

Airports are also a great place to meet people if you are not content with just people-watching. Nothing like a delayed flight to stir up conversations between people who have barely said a word to each other in the departure lounge all afternoon. The Lady has become rather accustomed to delayed flights (due to operational reasons, of course) and attempts to discover new ways to amuse herself all the time. Sometimes, reading a book just does not cut it. Someone needs to sue an airline for these delays by the way (no out-of-court settlements please).

Delayed flight. Yes. 2 Hours. The Lady got talking with some fine gentlemen – one, a senior colleague at the bar. We talked about suing airlines. The senior colleague has a case in court and the Lady will be on the lookout for the final judgment. We also discussed our frustrations as Nigerians (of course!) and our vocations. In the course of this, the Lady mentioned she intends to specialise in IP, which earned her a lecture from her senior colleague.

The Lady has received as many of these lectures advising against specialising as she has encouraging same. The senior colleague like many in the past made some valid points. The summary of which is – Nigeria is not ready for specialised Lawyers. He did state that clients prefer successful general practitioners who have made a name for themselves than specialists they have never heard of. Besides, feeding of specialist cases means that briefs are far and in between.

Remember the post on registering trademarks? Yes, case in point. Having worked at a law firm, the Lady can attest to this conclusion – IP briefs are far and in between. Probably, the least earners when compared to advisory briefs. The Lady recalls her concern with constant references to old cases during her study of IP in her undergraduate days. There were barely new decisions to study. A far cry from what obtained during her postgraduate study in Europe. Up until the day of her examination, she had to stay abreast of recent developments relevant to the course in question. The difference between a Merit and a Distinction. A look at IPKat will give you a better insight into the fast-paced development of IP protection in the Europe. Studying IP in Europe was an exhilarating experience the Lady will forever be grateful for.

A lot of Nigerian law firms claim to offer IP services, but these services barely scratch the surface of what IP encompasses. Many of the services rendered include mostly Trademark registrations and contract reviews. Litigation occasionally. Patents are the worst hit. A reflection of the level of innovation in the country. The Lady did have the honour of discussing patents with a senior colleague who had handled a patent case and will definitely be recommending him to anyone who inquires.

Nevertheless, the Lady still has grand plans of opening a boutique IP firm. You can tell that she is not easily deterred. The Lady’s passion for IP has opened countless doors for her. It has been an overwhelming journey simply because she fell in love with IP. So to anyone out there who is keen on specialising in IP, but has been told to focus on Commercial Law instead since it encompasses IP, the Lady says FOCUS ON YOUR PASSION!

There is a ready market for IP in Nigeria. If in doubt, look at the creative industry. Even the finance industry – Nigerian Creative and Entertainment Industry Stimulation Loan Scheme. There is also an increasing awareness of IP by young practitioners. More and more people are focusing on IP at a higher level of study.

Encouraging as these developments may be, in the absence of law reforms and effective enforcements, specialisation in IP will never be a viable option. Enforcement is the bane of our legal system. Getting it right will open the door for specialisation in various aspects of the law and not just IP.

Trivia – Can you identify an airline by the tail of its aircraft?

PS: Aircraft engines can be a bit noisy, but if you do get assigned a window seat by the wings, take some time to observe how the flaps extend downward during take-off and landing. The airplane is a fascinating piece of invention I tell you.

Ebola and Intellectual Property Matters

A career in Law or Medicine have always been the preferred choices put forward by Nigerian parents to their wards. Medicine was a no-no for the Lady who thought she had an aversion to blood at the time. Having been certain about a legal career, the Lady thought a wise way to marry both options was to marry a Medical Doctor. Oh, the simple ways of a child!

In recent years, the Lady has had the opportunity to learn about the intersection between the Law and Medicine from an IP perspective. Fascinating! I tell you. As such, when the Lady was requested to make a presentation in any field of law to an interview panel, you can bet what choice the Lady made. At the time, Ebola was a huge topic in Africa. That formed the basis of the topic: Ebola Virus Disease – Matters Arising. Remarks from the panelists indicate that it was unexpected, but it was well received.

Between the drama over life/image rights in the soon to be released movie – 93 Days and the recent news about Ebola treatments failing, the Lady has chosen to  revisit her presentation by sharing same with her esteemed readers here.