Legal Drama

UPDATE: MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week Copyright & Trademark Infringement Case Proceeds to Trial, Date Set for April 24th, 2012

AML people,

I hope your weekend is coming along beautiful and blessed. For AML American readers, don’t forget to set your clocks later tonight. On Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time begins in the United States.

Below is an update to the suit filed against MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week produced by fellow legal colleague Omoyemi Akerele of Style House Files. I will get to the merits of the suit in the coming weeks. But below is an update sent by the Plaintiff. I’d love to see an official press release from Akerele/SHF that is clear on the lack of merits and their confidence to make that showing in Nigeria’s court of law; as well as seek applicable sanctions and attorney fees. I love every thing SHF/MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week embodies. It is a fashion revolution done with finesse in Nigeria.  I don’t believe, based on what I have seen, that there is merits to this suit but I need time to take a look at the lawsuit again and the facts and claims alleged.

Folks, when you are sued, the Plaintiff should not be the only person doing PR. Get in the PR game. Send your press release and statement(s), after consultation with your attorneys and in conjunction with your publicist. I want to hear from all parties in any litigation filed for the fashion and entertainment industries, not just the Plaintiff.

“Just to update you that on the matter of International Pageants & Films Vs. NCC, BC, MTN + 1ords, the Federal High Court siting in Abuja on the 28th day of February dismissed the Preliminary Objections challenging jurisdiction and pre-action notice raised by 4th Def and 1st Def. including MTN. The case has now been set down for trial for the 24th April 2012.”

Quickly folks, the challenge to jurisdiction is simply saying the court who is hearing this case has no power to hear the case. The Plaintiff is saying the Defendant lost and so the case is in the court it is assigned to and the Judge that will be hearing it. This challenge makes sense from the part of the Defendant because the event took place in Lagos. So, why do they have to go to Abuja to defend it? (NOTE: Nigeria’s Federal Copyright Law gives a Federal Court in Nigeria the power to hear cases pertaining to federal law. Also, MTN Lagos Fashion Week auditioned in Abuja thereby giving Abuja court the power to hear a case that stems out of an alleged infringement. Arguably, these arguments might be what the Plaintiff’s attorney used to successfully keep the case in Abuja).

If the Defendant loses at trial, there could be an opportunity, depending on Nigeria’s civil procedure laws, to appeal the case to the appellate (higher court) level on the issue of jurisdiction.


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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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