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Justice Daniel Osiagor, sitting at the Federal High Court, Lagos, has ordered the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and Coca-Cola to compensate one Abdulmumineen Onilemarun for infringing on his calendar work.

The court ordered NBC and Coca-Cola to pay N3 million to the plaintiff as compensation. Onilemarun had through his counsel, Abdullahi Ibrahim, filed the suit, alleging that Coca-Cola infringed on his work by using the calendar work in the Ramadan timing for dawn meal and breaking of fasting in Kwara State in 2014 and 2015 without his consent, licence or assignment.

He, therefore, filed a suit against the defendants accusing them of using his works for religious purposes without his consent and authority. The judge, while delivering the judgment, held that Coca-Cola and its bottler committed the offence.

The plaintiff had prayed the court to order an award of damages of N10 million against the defendants for the alleged infringement of his copyright.

“An award of damages of N10 million against the defendants for breach of confidence of secret information and secret idea for making accurate Ramadan timetable by using the said information and idea in producing Coca Cola Ilorin Ramadan Timing June/July 2015 in the course of their trade as well as for infringement of copyright by way of unlawful reproducing and unlawful publishing of substantial similarity of the plaintiff’s particular method in the copyrighted work of the Ramadan Timing for Dawn Meal and Breaking of Fasting for Kwara State, 2015, without his consent, licence and assignment.

“An order of accounts of profits made by the defendants, in Kwara State, between June 29, 2014 and July 28, 2014 as well as between June 17, 2015 and July 16, 2015.

“An order sharing to him 40 per cent of total profits made by the defendants in Kwara State, between June 29, 2014 and July 28, 2014 as well as between June 17, 2015 and July 16, 2015., and an award of costs of this action against the defendants,” he claimant had prayed.

But Coca-cola Plc and its bottlers, NBC Limited, through their counsel, Peter Agboola, prayed the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit. During the trial, the defendants argued that the said claimant’s work was not included in literary works to which the copyright would attach.

They also submitted that for a work to be eligible for copyright, such work must be original, and that sufficient effort must have been expended on making the work have an original character. However, the court disagreed and awarded a fine against the defendants.

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Constance Johnson E

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