IP & ADR Interview Iptlc

ADR & IP

Hello Ma, kindly introduce yourself for posterity sake.

Hi! My name is Rita Anwiri Chindah an associate at Infusion Lawyers a virtual law firm that specializes in Intellectual Property and Information Technology. My core areas of specialization are Intellectual Property & Information Technology, and Arbitration as a tool in the Alternate Dispute Resolution.

How did you start your journey in ADR and in IP?

If you look around, IP is everywhere—from the books you read, songs you listen to, new car models with new features every year, the drugs we take, evolution of the telephones, televisions, computers, buildings etc. I have always been fascinated with the strange and unanticipated evolution of the global economy, about how the relentless rise of technology has made intellectual property the new oil, and the most valuable asset that any company can possess.

So when IP was introduced in my final year I didn’t think twice and when it was time to choose a pathway. My knowledge of the global economy spurred my interests and influenced my decision so I opted for a fusion of IP and IT law.

As for ADR, my perspective on resolving disputes without actually going to court while still preserving the relationship by rethinking the traditional approaches to resolving disputes. While I was doing my masters degree program in Intellectual Property And Information Technology Law at the University of Derby, United Kingdom, I offered a course on International Commercial Arbitration It piqued my interest in this area.

With every arbitration conference, training with the Charters Institute of Arbitrator (UK) Nigeria Branch and workshop I have attended, I am often amazed at how vast arbitration is and how I could apply it to dispute resolution in almost every sphere of sector where dispute are bound to arise.

Thanks to my lecturer Dr Yog Upadhyay who advised and encouraged me to do a training with Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)  (UK) Nigeria Branch since the University was unable to register us as student members of CIARB, now I am an Associate Member of the institute and an active member in the Port Harcourt Chapter. I also did a training on Dispute Management and Negotiation Skills with the Nigerian Institute Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS).

Which came first?

Intellectual Property came first.

Where was the merging point for you?

The more I delved into IP and Arbitration, the more intrigued I became.


Like most aspects of law, both fields are related and have their convergence points. 
But while IP is vast and is concerned with every product of the mind, ADR is limited in the sense that only certain kinds of disputes can be resolved through its various mechanisms. Even then, ADR has its perks of privacy and confidentiality for parties involved. These peculiar features encourage parties like Inventors, Entrepreneurs, and Startups owners who are likely to have a disagreement arising from their contracts from different stages of their activities can opt to settle out of court through any of the ADR mechanism.

 Is there a merging point between ADR and IP ?

IP is all about protecting the intangible assets of the owner such as copyright, industrial designs, patents, trademarks, and balancing this protection with public interest. ADR is all about protecting the parties’ individual or business interest, and balancing this protection with public policy and state interest. Therefore, ADR can benefit IP owners by serving as a dispute-resolution option that best protects the IP owner’s proprietary interest. Litigation won’t always guarantee that. Also, one of the features of IP is the exclusive rights accorded to the owner/author which has legal protection making it personal and sensitive enough not to be shared with the public except where it is to be traded for a few, however where the rights of the owner has been infringed upon instead of going to court parties can opt for ADR which makes provision to save time and cost for parties involved in a dispute resulting from the information shared between the parties by exploring a flexible approach to resolving their differences.

In order for this to work, we must have willing and consensual parties.


Is it safe to say that IP disputes are best resolved through the mechanism of ADR?

From the point of view of parties, one could say YES, IP disputes are best resolved through ADR. This is because the parties, the owner of the IP work in question and the third party involved must give their consent to settle their dispute through any of the ADR mechanism.

Thereby exercising their Party Autonomy to resolve their IP dispute which could have resulted from a Commercial issue related to IP, Violation of IP Rights and Technology. 

Furthermore, some of the benefits of resolving IP disputes through ADR includes the following: it is time efficient, preserves relationship, the procedure calls for specific expertise of the neutral, ADR can be neutral to the law and language of the parties, ADR proceedings are private and confidential, arbitral awards are recognized on par with domestic court judgments through the New York Convention that recognizes the enforcement of foreign awards, etc. An example of a body that resolves IP disputes through ADR is the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, a neutral and international dispute resolution provider. It offers time- and cost-efficient ADR options for resolving IP disputes out of court.

But as great as ADR is to IP dispute resolution, it may not always be healthy for the development of IP through case law. This is because superior courts are best positioned to develop case law through principles they establish on a case-by-case basis. It helps IP catch up faster with contemprorary realities rather than having to rely on legislative changes which is typically a slow process.

What advantage or what edge do you have over your colleagues, being both an IP and ADR expert?

For me, IP doesn’t end in registration and it becomes my responsibility to further educate my client on how they can make money off their IP through commercialization and having a good IP strategy.

This process is normally dicey and very sensitive, so in order to protect my client’s interest, I include the necessary Dispute Resolution Clause in the event a dispute arises there won’t be a need to go to court but choose a more confidential approach while still maintaining the relationship.

And because they are mostly entrepreneurs, business owners, innovators and techies who by the nature of their works are naturally busy would like to resolve disputes faster and also save time and money.

 Ordinarily, parties involved would prefer ADR which bring answers to problems that are beyond what litigation can do especially in Nigeria where a lot of technicalities could make or break your case.

The digital age has made access to information easier to get there by making techies and business owner become increasingly aware of dispute resolution mechanisms that help them maintain good relationship with their “foes” and give them the option to control things (eg, date, time, and venue of ADR proceedings) with the introduction of the online dispute resolution, parties involved can stay wherever they are to resolve their dispute with the use of technology which is a product of IP.

In view of the above, I am obviously strategically placed.

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IPTLC INTERVIEW WITH IFEOLUWA OLARINDE

IPTLC: Hello to our Guest😁.

Thank you for agreeing to have this interview.  Please introduce yourself, any popular nicknames ?

IFE : Evening everyone.

Thanks for having me.  My name is Olarinde Ifeoluwa Amos.  A 400 level law student, University of Ibadan. I run a clothing business. Brand’s name is HD (Hyphi designs) . I was nicknamed Ife Byron in my early days in school(University).

IPTLC: A clothing business, that’s amazing. So what exactly does the business do?(in details please)

IFE : We make be-spoke wears for clients from scratch.

Ranging from Native wears to casuals. Focussing mainly on exclusive designs which we believe to the best of our knowledge differs from designs which are readily available by other designers or in the    market sphere generally.

IPTLC: Exclusive designs. Great stuff. When did you start the business; what made you start in the first place?

IFE: Well, the brand basically  started off about a 2 years ago. A year and half more accurately.  Was in my 3rd year in school.

I’ve always been pretty enthusiastic about dressing, appearance among other things. It feels  really good wearing or seeing nice outfits on people.  I also wanted to venture into something before leaving university, something worth commitment, so i thought, what better thing to do, than something I’m enthusiastic about.

So HD

IPTLC:  Woah, that sounds amazing. How has the journey being so far?

IFE: Yeah, the journey has been pretty much like any other project any other person would venture into.  Its been challenging. Interesting, educative but challenging.

I think the nature of any undertaking is that the older it gets, the better is gets the more the complications, the higher the severity of  a any unfortunate flaw etc.

This also applies to what i do

IPTLC: Hmm, the higher you go, the higher the risk.

One question for you, do you know about Intellectual Property(IP)? And if yes, what do you know about it?

IFE: Yeah i know IP, not in depth though.  Its more or less about any product, service, creation whatsoever thats an offshoot of a person’s creativity, thoughtfulness (not sure of the right word to use) basically something you can lay claim on as your handiwork in exclusion to others’.

Basically, thats one’s IP, and its been recognised and protected by certain laws

IPTLC: Woa that’s apt!

Has your IP right ever being infringed upon? In common parlance, has anybody ever “Stolen an idea from you? Like a design?” if yes, please share your experience and how did you feel. If No, how would you feel then?

IFE: Oh, lol, well first of there’s unfortunately a very thin line between exclusiveness and inspiration in our line of business, its the same for every fashion outlet in the industry,  what lawyers, or people in other coporate industry will see as imitation, a designer can see as “inspiration” “creativity” and on and on, you name it.

So yes, designs i make have been done by other folks a couple of times bfr. I definitly am not the only one whom its been done to, i certainly won’t be the last.  Funny thing, even your boss, can see you run a design and feel impressed by your creativity, i mean this is your boss, you take off! And next thing you see your design has been replicated, you either feel like a badass(honoured) that “even oga sef sabi better thing” or you feel pained.  Its usually a bit.of both emotions.

Likewise in school organisations, you tender a design for a department or a faculty across campuses, your pitch eventually gets turned down and boom, the organisation does something pretty similar to what you pitched.

Sometimes, you see more or less a look alike of your design but you can swear the maker has never seen your stuff bfr,  and you didn’t see his/hers before you made yours too. Who made it first is a million dollar question, so yes y’all could have had very seperate similar ideas.

It happens all the time.

IPTLC: Sounds to me like the industry is quite in need of IP.

We’ll be rounding off pretty soon, but quickly,Let’s go to your brand, what inspires you to make the particular kind of clothes you do?

IFE: The likes of Nike, Fila, Supreme etc caused it all. 

I mean, those folks’ products are not from this world. Really elegant stuffs they do. I get really inspired by things like that

IPTLC: and soon, you’ll be an inspiration to other brands, if you aren’t already

One fun thing, before this is over, Give us an exclusive. One fun fact about you that no one knows.

IFE: This  is a tough one, i really don’t know.

Well i wouldn’t say this is a fun fact, and a couple of people actually know, if you are not standing just right in front of me, and you’re wearing a new cloth that i haven’t saved you with in my head before, then I’m sorry i can’t see you! 

You’re just one seriously blurry thing ahead.

IPTLC: Really?😂 You must have issues with people misunderstanding that for you being a snob.

To wrap this up, doing the kind of thing you do, and I must commend, you’re doing a great job; you must definitely need to know basics of Intellectual Property. You would not want to have come up with a high selling idea and have it snatched from you with no backing from the law. An  advice from me to you, keep IPTLC very close to your brand.

Thank you for agreeing to do it.

IFE: Will do!

Thanks for having me.