16 February 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos —The Supreme Court will on March 5, hear an appeal by a group of investors seeking to get royalties worth over N1 trillion from ExxonMobil over copyright infringement.
The investors, known as Patent RP13522 patentees (made up of over 50,000 registered Patentees and over 1 million stakeholders, in a representative capacity), who constituted themselves into a Forum (FILMSAD) had appealed the judgment of the Appeal Court at the Supreme Court, affecting payment of due royalties.
The patentees have over a decade purchased co-ownership of an intellectual property right belonging to Comandclem Nigeria Limited.
SweetcrudeReports learnt that the case which was initially adjourned to 23rd of January suffered another adjournment and will be heard come 5th of March, 2018.
Mr. Olatunji Abiola, the patentees’ representative and one of the plaintiffs explained to journalists why it was expedient that suit SC/503/2016 be accepted by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
According to him, a whopping N1 trillion is at stake owing to the fact that intellectual property rights which are capable of moving the country forward in terms of generating billions in revenue and creating millions of employment, is yet to reach the potential that the Patent and Designs Act affords Nigeria.
He said all that avails now is suit SC/503/2016 before the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The Patent granted Comandclem Nigeria Limited after an invention certified on the 5th of August 1999, empowers the Patentee to receive royalties and compensations.
“Exxon Mobil being the first user of the Anti-corrosive Special Paint infringed on the rights of the Patentees by admittedly stealing the formula, taking it to Amsterdam, Holland for mass production, importing to Nigeria and selling the product in violation of the laws of the land”.
“Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited concealed their intention to commit fraud when they never replied letters written to them by the Chairman of Comandclem Nigeria Limited, Clement Uwemedimo until his lawyers wrote to them making his intention of taking them to court known”.
Abiola argued further that Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited claimed ownership of the invention which they once denied existed before the Federal Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Comandclem Nigeria Limited.
The case had gone through the Federal High Court to the Supreme Court on interlocutory before continuing on the substantive at the federal High Court and now to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The plaintiff is praying that the Supreme Court sets aside the judgment of the Appeal Court denying Nigeria royalties that stood with Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited that the matter was statute barred.
“The question the Patentees body are asking is that, how can a Patent that was issued in the year 1999 become statute barred in the year 2000 that the Patentees sought redress in Court?”
“What further proof of infringement is needed when Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited admitted on oath to mass production and importation of same product from the year 2000 to date?”
“Mobil did not deny continuous infringement in their briefs. Why should a judge manufacture such excuse for them?” he argued.
SweetcrudeReports puts a call across to Ogechukwu Udeagha, Manager, Media, and Communications at Mobil Producing Nigeria, however, received no response.
The text message also sent received no reply as at press time.