January 21, 2021

Court reserves judgment in N703m infringement award against NCC, Zain

Court reserves judgment in N703m infringement award against NCC, Zain

A court of appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment in a suit seeking to upturn the judgment of a federal high court.

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The court had fined the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Zain Nigeria Ltd (now Airtel) the sum of N703 million over copyright infringement.

Inyang Ekwo, an Abuja federal high court judge, had in May 2020, fined NUC and Zain for infringing on the copyright of TV Xtra Production, a media company.

Christian Ogodo (pictured), chief executive officer of TV Xtra Productions and general editor of Arise News, had accused both the NUC and Zain of airing a quiz programme which he designed and registered as the “University Challenge” with the National Copyrights Commission.

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In his judgement, Ekwo ruled that the actions of the defendants breached Ogodo’s copyright.

Dissatisfied by the court’s judgment, NUC and Zain approached the court of appeal seeking to upturn the judgment.

The NUC, represented by Solomon Akuna, submitted to the appellate court that they were not given a fair hearing as they were not served with relevant hearing notices.

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But Uju Azuch, Ogodo’s counsel, filed additional records of appeal showing that the series of hearing notices were served on the appellant.

In its own appeal, Zain argued that that TV Xtra is not the original owner of the programme.

NUC and Zain, therefore, urged the court to upturn the lower court’s decision.

Upon hearing the appeals, a three-man panel of justices led by Stephen Adah reserved judgment adding that the date will be communicated to counsel.

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