Category Archives: Aviation Law

“I.P. (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY) AS A VALUABLE ASSET IN AVIATION” (As it appeared in THISDAY LAWYER http://www.thisdaylive.com/)

Quite a number of more people are discovering that general aviation is fast, efficient, and safe, opening a whole new window of travel opportunities for both business and personal travel. Aviation benefits passengers and freight with swift, cost-effective transportation; it contributes to the overall economic growth of our nation, provides significant revenues to our national purse, creates a large numbers of high-value jobs, provides extensive benefits to international trade and tourism, facilitates law enforcement, saves lives and aids agriculture.

Intellectual Property as a valuable asset in aviation

Intellectual Property becomes a valuable asset to the airlines and public institutions, when it is registered and steps are taken to prevent competitors from accessing and using it for free, more value is even derived when the owner of such Intellectual Property actively seeks to commercialise his intellectual assets by synergising with other airlines or companies willing to use his Intellectual Assets for a fee in exchange for a license.

Legal regime covering Intellectual Property

The laws enumerated below make up the legal regime for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Nigeria.

Copy Right Act, Cap. C 28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

Patents and Designs Act, Cap P2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; and

Trade Marks Act, Cap. T13 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004   Airborne Intellectual Property;

The basic types of Intellectual property prevalent in the Aviation sector are the following; Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Trade Secrets and Others like brands, Know-How and Professional Credentials & Credibility.

Patents

A patent is a document issued, upon application by a government office (or a regional office acting for several countries), which describes an invention and creates a legal situation in which the patented invention can only be legally exploited (manufactured, used, sold, imported) with the authorization of the owner of the patent Patents in Nigeria typically provide protection for a period of 20 years from the filing of the application for patent grant. A patent will be granted in respect of an invention if it is new, result from inventive activities and is capable of industrial application; or if it constitutes an improvement upon a patented invention and also is new, results from inventive activity and is capable of industrial application. Section 1 of the Patents and Designs Act, Cap P2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (the Patent Act) Section 51 and 52 of Civil Aviation Act no. 6 of 2006 also relates to patents in aviation

Trade secrets

A “trade secret” is defined as any product, operating formula, pattern, device or other compilation of information which is used in a business, which gets its economic value from being kept secret, and gives the business a competitive advantage. The Aviation industry also relies on trade secret protection. Innovation ranging from advancements in aircraft assembly, performance, maintenance, flight simulation and advancements in airline operations are confidential and fiercely protected as trade secrets.

Copyright

Copyright exists in creative and artistic works such as aviation books, movies, photographs and aviation software. A copyright gives the holder of such copyright the exclusive right to control exploitation, production and adaptation of such a work for a certain period of time. Copyright protection is particularly important to the Aviation industry in the protection of databases and maps.  

Trademarks

The first “flight” in any great aviation company is a good name. It should be registered as a trademark. A trademark is usually a word, your name; but it can also be a logo, a blog (https://megathoslawpractice.wordpress.com/), a tag line “Just does it”. In choosing a name, it is wise to consider a name that is distinctive.  

Brand Protection for Aviation Companies

Aviation companies develop good reputations associated with their brand names and will definitely benefit from the registration of their trademarks. International protection of company trademarks is also very important. However air safety should be the number one concern of aviation companies and as such more efforts should be made to properly tackle the issue of safety in air travel otherwise there will be nothing left of Aviation Brands.

Industrial Designs Industrial design rights protects the form of appearance, style or design of an industrial object for example Air craft spare parts, Airline Passenger Cabins, Airliner Flight Decks and External Styling/Aesthetics of Aircraft.  

Airborne I.P. –The way forward

The American Experience

The Boeing Company in America has been identified as one of America’s top innovators among aerospace companies based on the number of new patents it has received and the strength of its patent portfolio.

The need to leverage on Intellectual Property

Airlines and Aviation companies need to leverage on their “pipeline power” —which is usually measured by the originality and variety of patents, as well as the rate of increase in number of patents obtained.

The need for Research and Innovation

The Aviation Industry in Nigeria needs to nurture the kinds of inventions and patents in its research and development efforts that will increase the long-term strength of Nigeria’s Aviation industry. Large Aviation companies and Small Aviation companies can provide a rich environment in which innovation can thrive.  

Intellectual Property Management unit (IPM)

Aviation companies need an Intellectual Property Management unit (IPM) that will help them create, protect and leverage on their intellectual property.

Anti-Counterfeiting measures and Aviation safety

A plane belonging to a certain airline crashed in Davao in 2000, it killed all 131 people on board, and it was described as the worst air accident in Philippine history. The crash was believed to have been caused by “counterfeit and faulty aircraft parts.” Sometime ago a plane smashed into Buga a Colombian mountainside on December 20, 1995, killing 151 passengers and 8 crew members, it is reported that outlaw salvagers didn’t even wait for all 159 victims’ bodies to be collected before they moved in to extract engine thrust reversers, cockpit avionics and other valuable components from the shattered Boeing 757. (http://wp.me/p2u72z-15)

Need to curb the menace of “Tokunbo Parts”

Parts illegally salvaged from crashes, counterfeit parts and other substandard components regularly find their way into the world’s air fleets, sold at bargain prices, often with falsified documents about their origin or composition, your guess is as good as mine as regards where such planes and parts are usually dumped. Counterfeit aviation and automobile spare parts, aviation fuel and pharmaceuticals, are dangerous to the safety, health and lives of Nigerians and should be intercepted and destroyed.             

Conclusion

The Aviation industry has been described as a “knowledge industry” because of the quick evolution of technology in recent times. Simply owning intellectual property rights does not generate money. To produce income the owners of these Airborne IP rights must exploit them financially through various types of commercial agreements including but not limited to licensing arrangements, joint ventures, and/or assignments   of rights. In a way, these commercial agreements are an attempt to turn intellectual property into intellectual capital that will then increase your cash flow.

Olufola Wusu Esq. © 2012

Counsel at Megathos Law Practice

.Legal Practitioner. . Commercialization of Intellectual Property.  . I.P. Asset Consultant.

He can be reached at folawusu@yahoo.com  

Legal Disclaimer

by Olufola Wusu Esq

(1) No advice

This note contains general information about [law and legal practice]. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

(2) No warranties

The legal information on this article is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied. We make no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website.

Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not warrant that:

(a) the legal information on this article will be constantly available, or available at all; or

(b) the legal information on this article is complete, true, accurate, up-to-date, or non-misleading.

(3) Professional assistance

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

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The Age of Nigerian Planes

http://www.planespotters.net/Production_List/Country/Nigeria

The list is from the above website, it is an aviation database with plenty of  information on over thirty thousand aircrafts.

Aero Contractors Current Fleet

5N-BIZ 24558 1845 Boeing 737-4B7 01-02-2007 N436 22.2 Years
5N-BJA 24873 1931 Boeing 737-4B7 05-2007 N446 lsf Jet Partners LLC 21.7 Years
5N-BJO 534 De Havilland Canada DHC-8-311Q Dash 8 Y50 23-02-2007 C-FLGJ lsd 12.9 Years
5N-BKQ 26695 2423 Boeing 737-522 28-08-2008 VP-BSW lsf GECAS 19.4 Years
5N-BKR 26699 2485 Boeing 737-522 14-08-2008 VP-BSX lsf GECAS 19 Years
5N-BLC 26692 2421 Boeing 737-522 26-09-2008 VP-BSV 19.4 Years
5N-BLD 26675 2345 Boeing 737-522 10-08-2008 VP-BSU lsf GECAS 19.9 Years
5N-BLE 26672 2343 Boeing 737-522 02-04-2009 VP-BSQ 19.9 Years
5N-BLG 25387 2179 Boeing 737-522 28-08-2011 VP-BTI 20.5 Years
5N-BLH 25383 2146 Boeing 737-522 Due VP-BTG lsf WFBN 20.7 Years
5N-BOB 24232 2060 Boeing 737-42C 26-03-2012 EI-CWE lsf AWAS 21 Years
5N-BOC 24814 2270 Boeing 737-42C 17-10-2011 EI-CWF lsf AWAS 20.2 Years

Air  Current Fleet
5N-VNC 29338 3114 Boeing 737-33V C16Y100 02-06-2010 G-EZYN lsf GECAS 13 Years

5N-VND 29337 3113 Boeing 737-33V C16Y100 02-06-2010 G-EZYM lsf GECAS 13 Years
5N-VNE 29340 3121 Boeing 737-33V C16Y100 02-06-2010 G-EZYP lsf GECAS 12.8 Years
5N-VNF 29341 3125 Boeing 737-33V C16Y100 08-07-2010 OE-IAF lsf CAT 12.7 Years
5N-VNG 29342 3127 Boeing 737-33V C16Y100 02-06-2010 OE-IAI lsf GECAS 12.6 Years
5N-VNH 19000210 Embraer ERJ-190AR (ERJ-190-100 IGW) C12Y84 02-06-2010 PT-SGT
5N-VNI 19000226 Embraer ERJ-190AR (ERJ-190-100 IGW) C12Y84 02-06-2010 PT-SHM

5N-VNJ 28558 2876 Boeing 737-36N C16Y100 16-08-2010 N542MS lsf GECAS 15.2 Years
5N-VNK 27469 2864 Boeing 737-33A C16Y100 15-11-2010 N901AS lsf AerSale Inc 15.3 Years
5N-VNL 27910 2873 Boeing 737-33A C16Y100 15-11-2010 N902AS lsf AerSale Inc 15.2 Years
5N-VNM 25375 2598 Boeing 737-4Q8 03-08-2011 TC-TJD lsf ILFC 18.2 Years
SU-GCI 696 Airbus A330-243 C24Y244 13-05-2012 F-WWYR lsf EgyptAir Papa Do 6.7 Years

Arik Air Current Fleet
5N-BKU 4207 De Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 C10Y62 14-10-2009 C-FPPU Christopher
5N-BKV 4219 De Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 C10Y62 06-11-2009 C-FSRN Cyprian
5N-JEA 15058 Canadair CL-600-2D24 Regional Jet CRJ-900ER C10Y65 02-10-2006 C-FHRH
5N-JEB 15059 Canadair CL-600-2D24 Regional Jet CRJ-900ER C10Y65 02-10-2006 C-FHRK

5N-JEC 15054 Canadair CL-600-2D24 Regional Jet CRJ-900ER C10Y65 02-10-2006 C-FGNB
5N-JED 15114 Canadair CL-600-2D24 Regional Jet CRJ-900ER C10Y65 31-03-2007 C-FMEP 5.4 Years
5N-MJC 33932 2234 Boeing 737-7BD(WL) C12Y119 14-06-2007 N1795B Martin 5.2 Years
5N-MJD 36073 2248 Boeing 737-7BD(WL) C12Y119 14-06-2007 N1787B Michael 5.2 Years
5N-MJE 34761 2401 Boeing 737-7GL(WL) Y149 25-11-2007 N737AV McTighe 4.7 Years
5N-MJF 34762 2427 Boeing 737-7GL(WL) Y149 04-12-2007 N737BV Queen of Angels 4.6 Years
5N-MJG 33944 2576 Boeing 737-7BD(WL) C12Y119 27-05-2008 N346AT Claudiana 4.2 Years
5N-MJH 36719 2589 Boeing 737-7BD(WL) C12Y119 27-05-2008 N347AT Margaret 4.2 Years
5N-MJI 28640 799 Boeing 737-76N(WL) C12Y112 04-02-2009 N740AL lsf GECAS City of Freetown 11.3 Years
5N-MJJ 28641 809 Boeing 737-76N(WL) C12Y112 04-02-2009 N741AL lsf GECAS 11.2 Years
5N-MJK 30830 855 Boeing 737-76N(WL) C12Y112 09-04-2009 N742AL lsf GECAS Ville De Niamey 11.1 Years
5N-MJN 35638 2789 Boeing 737-86N(WL) C16Y132 10-03-2009 N1796B lsf GECAS Eddington 3.4 Years
5N-MJO 35640 2819 Boeing 737-86N(WL) C16Y132 29-06-2009 N358MT lsf GECAS Augustine 3.3 Years

5N-MJP 38970 3030 Boeing 737-8JE(WL) C20Y126 28-10-2009 N1787B Sultan of Sokoto 2.8 Years
5N-MJQ 38971 3065 Boeing 737-8JE(WL) C20Y126 17-02-2010 City of Calabar 2.7 Years
CS-TFW 910 Airbus A340-542 C36Y201 11-12-2008 F-WJKH lsf Hi Fly Our Lady of Perpetual Help 4 Years
CS-TFX 912 Airbus A340-542 C36Y201 29-04-2009 F-WJKI lsf Hi Fly Captain Bob Hayes 3.9 Years

Chanchangi Airlines Current Fleet
5N-BEV 22658 861 Boeing 737-217(A) 10-12-2004 C-GCPZ 30.2 Years
5N-BIF 23043 972 Boeing 737-282(A) C12Y88 21-11-2005 N233TM 29 Years
5N-BIG 23044 973 Boeing 737-282(A) 28-12-2005 N344TM 29 Years
5N-BIH 23046 981 Boeing 737-282(A) 28-12-2005 N789TM 22.9 Years
5N-BMB 25079 2016 Boeing 737-3J6 03-2009 B-2536 21.3 Years

5N-BMC 25089 2027 Boeing 737-3Z0 03-2009 B-2537 21.2 Years

 Air Current Fleet
5N-DEV 49947 1900 McDonnell Douglas MD-83 C12Y128 11-05-2012 N934JM 20.9 Years
5N-JAI 53016 1850 McDonnell Douglas MD-83 C12Y128 21-08-2009 N968AS 21.2 Years
5N-SAI 53018 1779 McDonnell Douglas MD-83 C12Y128 30-08-2008 N943AS 21.7 Years
5N-SRI 53020 1789 McDonnell Douglas MD-83 C12Y128 04-08-2008 N947AS 21.6 Years

First Nation Airways Current Fleet (Formerly Belview Airline)
N-FNA 409 Airbus A320-212 07-04-2011 N409AG lsf ACG 19.3 Years
5N-FNB 466 Airbus A320-212 08-04-2011 N466AG lsf ACG 18.2 Years
5N-FNC 497 Airbus A320-212 10-04-2011 N997AG lsf ACG 17.7 Years

IRS Airlines Current Fleet
5N-CEO 11295 Fokker F100 20-08-2004 N860 Hajiya Babba 22.3 Years
5N-HIR 11498 Fokker F100 22-01-2009 G-CFBU 18.4 Years
5N-SAT11293 Fokker F100 22-12-2010 PH-MJO 22.3 Years
5N-SIK 11286 Fokker F100 16-07-2010 SE-DUU 22.5 Years
5N-SMR 11291 Fokker F100 02-03-2010 SE-DUV 22.4 Years

Kabo Air Current Fleet
5N-DKB 23548 644 Boeing 747-251B 22-10-2008 N637US 26.1 Years
5N-JJJ 19766 111 Boeing 747-136 01-2001 G-AWNF 41.3 Years

5N-JRM 23549 651 Boeing 747-251B 25-11-2008 N638US 25.9 Years
5N-PDP 20842 238 Boeing 747-238B 17-07-2001 G-VJFK 38.1 Years
5N-RRR 19765 109 Boeing 747-136 01-2001 G-AWNE 41.3 Years
Max Air Current Fleet
5N-BMG 23638 658 Boeing 747-346 27-07-2009 JA8177 25.7 Years
5N-DBM 23968 693 Boeing 747-346 12-11-2008 JA8184 24.5 Years
5N-DDK 23967 692 Boeing 747-346 20-08-2009 JA8183 24.5 Years
5N-HMB 25067 857 Boeing 747-438 10-2011 VH-OJK 21.1 Years
5N-MBB 24018 694 Boeing 747-346 22-04-2009 JA8186 24.4 Years
M-ANGA 14501086 Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy VIP 06-01-2012 VQ-BLU

Overland Airways Current Fleet

5N-BCR 031 ATR 42-320 04-03-2005 F-WQNR cvtd -300 25.6 Years
N-BND 363 ATR 42-320 27-10-2010 5H-PAP 18.7 Years

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Filed under Aviation Law

SAVING AVIATION- (As it appeared in Thisday Lawyer 12/06/12) http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/saving-aviation/117847/

On the 3rd of June 2012 a Passenger plane, MD-83 operated by Dana airlines crashed into houses in Iju Ishaga, an area in Lagos. The crash killed all the 153 people on board including the crew members. My friend Christopher Okocha was on that flight, he was a loving husband and father of one. May his gentle soul rest in peace.

Air Transport Safety

Air transport is probably the safest means of transportation and the most regulated industry in the world.

Safety within aviation circles can be defined as the management of risks to harm or damage to property to an acceptable level through a process of hazard identification, risk management, remedial action planning and continuous improvement. The acceptable level is usually determined by the regulatory authority in aviation.

The prevalence of plane crashes in the Nigerian Air space has exposed the need for a safety management system in the Nigerian Aviation Industry.

A Safety Management System (SMS) is a systematic, explicit and comprehensive process for the management of safety risks that integrates operations and technical systems with financial and human resource management for all activities related to any organisation.

 

Delayed Rescue operations

Reports have it that for about a quarter of an hour, the ill-fated plane was enmeshed in rubble with trapped passengers screaming for help. Besides when help came it was disorganised with no mention of air ambulances evacuating people!

 

Governmental Influence and policy formulation

There is an urgent need for the Federal Government in conjunction with all stakeholders to develop of a National Aviation Policy that will drive the aviation industry. It can be a 5-year or 10-year plan that can be reviewed periodically.

A National Aviation Policy will guide lawyers and government officials in assessing existing legislation and signing international agreements. In drafting a National Aviation Policy we need to examine the aviation policies of the US, the EU and other African countries. This would help us to decide what level of protection our local airlines need and how best we can go about protecting our economic interest.

 

Review of the Open Skies Arrangement and Bilateral Aviation Services Agreements.

Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) is an air operation agreement which Nigeria signs with countries that have their airlines operate into the country and from which agreements Nigeria receives royalties. There is the need for a complete review of the Open Skies Arrangement and Bilateral Aviation Services Agreements. The Arik Air debacle has revealed that the BASA’s are not particularly favourable to Nigerian flag carriers.

The need for round pegs in round holes

We need aviation experts running the aviation industry in Nigeria, we can’t afford the politicisation of the appointment of key personnel in the Ministry of Aviation and the regulatory bodies in aviation, and this is because lapses in air travel regulation often result in tragic loss of life.

Public Sector branding in aviation

The regulatory bodies overseeing aviation in Nigeria have made concerted efforts to properly brand their organisations through seminars, workshops etc. However trust in the competency of the regulator is undermined every time an accident occurs. Airplane crashes have far-reaching effects as was seen when the market capitalisation of the listed equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange fell by N106 billion or 1.5% per cent to close at N6.899trillion down from the N7.005 trillion it opened with on Monday 4/6/2012.It is important to note that public sector branding is ineffective especially when systemic failures are so critical that they result in wanton loss of life and property.

 

The need to restrict multi designation in Nigeria

Multi-designation is the assigning of foreign airlines to operate from more than one airport in Nigeria. It deprives local carriers a percentage of its local passenger market; as foreign airlines go to different airports to pick their passengers for flights to their destinations instead of local airlines bringing passengers to one airport for the foreign airlines.

Government participation in Aviation

All over the world more governments are actively participating in aviation.

 

The American Experience

A look at the American government’s Policy would reveal a strong protectionist tendency.

The Fly America policy compels all beneficiaries of air travel paid for by the American government, to use only American airlines with very few exceptions.

There is ample bankruptcy protection for American airlines, and almost all major American airlines have received bankruptcy protection at least once since September 11 2001.

The American government gave a total of $15B in aid to its airlines in the aftermath of September 11 2001.

Middle East experience

Emirates was established in 1985, it is now one of the youngest and strongest carriers in the Middle East. It is owned and funded by the government of Dubai. It has a viable, low-cost business model, which enables it to offer superior in-flight and ground facilities and free visas.  These incentives are offered at the same price competing airlines normally charge for the flight ticket alone without any other benefits. The government of Dubai also has an important role by drawing investors with a zero corporate tax policy to set up businesses in Dubai.

Other Challenges in Nigerian Aviation

Better Consumer protection

NCAA has Consumer Protection Units in all the airports, which have been upgraded to a full-fledged directorate.  Cases of harassment and ill-treatment of passengers by airline operators are now being addressed by the NCAA.

Airport facilities /Better access roads to our airports

Airport users all over Nigeria have decried the dirty state of its infrastructure especially the airport corridor and toilets. This is shameful as our airport is the primary first hand impression foreigners have of Nigeria. We urgently need better access roads to our airports.
Insurance compensation

The Montreal Convention has been domesticated into the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act 2006, which stipulates that airlines should pay victims of air accidents a minimum insurance compensation package from starting with $10,000 and a maximum of $100,000 per head.

The need to maintain Category one Status

Category One certification that was earned by Nigeria is evidence that our aviation sector has the potential to be world class. It has been alleged that the Dana aircraft that crashed Sunday revealed that, the plane – MD 83aircaft has a history of malfunctioning before it was re-sold to the Nigerian airline in 2009.

There is a policy that stipulates that Nigerian airline operators should not fly aircraft that are more than 22 years old. Despite this, investigations have shown that some Nigerian airlines still          operate aircraft that are more than 22 years old (http://www.planespotters.net/Production_List/Country/Nigeria ).

Conclusion

There is a glaring need for Government to act quickly to restructure the aviation industry and save it from possible collapse, perhaps Mr President should act with the same speed and determination it has deployed in forwarding the bill renaming Unilag in addressing the problems facing the aviation industry, insecurity, the reinstatement of Justice Salami and the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill that has been dragging for so many years.

May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

Olufola Wusu Esq. copyright © 2012

Principal Counsel Megathos Law Practice

Olufola Wusu is a Solicitor & Advocate and Intellectual Property consultant

He can be reached at folawusu@yahoo.com

Legal Disclaimer

by Olufola Wusu Esq

(1) No advice

This note contains general information about [law and legal practice]. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

(2) No warranties

The legal information on this article is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied. We make no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website.

Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not warrant that:

(a) the legal information on this article will be constantly available, or available at all; or

(b) the legal information on this article is complete, true, accurate, up-to-date, or non-misleading.

(3) Professional assistance

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

3 Comments

Filed under Aviation Law