A Canada based Nigerian author, Paulicap Okechukwu Okekeda, has slammed N250 million suit on Macmillan Publishing Company Nigeria Limited over an alleged infringement of his intellectual property and copyright.
Joined as co-defendant in the suit filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Mr Oludare Esan is Universal Basic Education Commission.
In a statement of claim filed before a Federal High court in Lagos, the author alleged that he is the author of a book titled “BIRIBAMBA THE LONELY ELEPHANT, first published in the United States of America on 30th of June, 2011 by Authorhouse Publishers.
According to him, the book was approved by the Canadian Educational Authorities and presently being sold and used in primary schools across Canada.
The author claimed in the statement that he filed before the court that on one of his visits to Nigeria, he took a copy of the book to Macmillan Lagos office with a view of getting it published in Nigeria, subject to the execution of a valid contract for doing so by between him and the publishing company.
But he said he was unable to enter into any valid contract with the publishing firm.
Okekeda however alleged that in reckless disregard for his intellectual property rights, Macmillan with the active collusion or connivance of the Universal Basic Education Commission surreptitiously proceeded to print, publish, sell and distribute the book without his knowledge, consent or approval and without any recourse whatsoever to him as the author.
According to him, the publishing house went ahead to sell many copies of the book to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Universal Basic Education, with the inscription FGN/UBE 20113 ‘NOT FOR SALE,’ making substantial financial gains from the transaction.
The Canadian based author said he instructed his lawyer to write Macmillan when he discovered the infringement of his copyright.
He said the company through its lawyer replied, requesting personal negotiation with him for possible amicable negotiation and settlement of the copyright infringement.
He however said the company eventually failed to activate the negotiation process.
The author has therefore asked the court to direct McMillan and other defendants to pay him the sum of N250 million as general damages for the infringement of his intellectual property and copyright as well as an order restraining the defendants and their agents from further infringing and selling of the plaintiff’s work.
He is also asking the court to award him the sum of N2 million as the cost of the suit.
The presiding Judge, Justice Abdulazis Anka has adjourned till next week for further hearing.