Category Archives: Intellectual Property

NNPC takes the lead in safeguarding Intellectual Property in the Oil and Gas Industry

 NNPC imagesIt was reported in the news that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Retail Limited has sued the Natural Network Petroleum and Gas Company (NNPG) Limited and two others over infringement on its trademark.  NNPC had in a suit joined Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Registrar of Trade Marks, Patent and Designs as second and third defendants respectively.

From this action, it would seem that the NNPC is keen on taking the lead in safeguarding Intellectual Property (IP) in the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria. It remains to be seen whether indigenous oil and gas companies will follow suit of their own accord or await regulatory changes, making IP Asset development, research & development mandatory, thus leading to IP and Innovation development.

This article attempts to highlight some key IP Issues indigenous Oil and Gas Companies may need to note.

The need for Innovation/Intellectual Property Commercialization

A report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1999 found that the global IP licensing market totalled more than US$100 billion, giving an idea of how economically important IP assets are today. Right now the total worldwide IP licensing market is estimated to be $250 billion annually.

ExxonMobil is reported to have collected more than US $129 million in 2011 from licensing its IP to third parties, and this number is increasing every year.

IBM alone generates nearly $2 billion a year from out-licensing its IP. The asset value of patents worldwide is estimated at $1 trillion.

U.S. IP licensing revenues were estimated at $120 billion in 2003 and are expected to have reached $500 billion by 2010. University licensing royalties in the U.S. total nearly $1 billion annually.

In 2013, the Shell Oil Company received 189 patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Research with patent portfolio analysis tools shows that Shell was assigned 207 U.S. patents in 2014 held by Royal Shell. Shell spent $1.2 billion on R&D.

The Chinese government paradigm

The Chinese Government is fostering home-grown innovation and IP commercialisation through tax incentives. From 2006 through 2010, Chinese oil and gas companies cumulatively boosted R&D spending by 29 percent annually and upstream patenting activity by 66 percent annually. In downstream, the Chinese energy conglomerate Sinopec is amassing a large patent portfolio, at home and abroad.

 

 

Nigeria’s Window of Innovation

For our industries to thrive we need Governmental support for our local industry, government has given some support in the Nigerian Local Content Act? However technological growth and development does not happen by chance, in this writer’s opinion our local companies have a duty to take full advantage of governmental support by actively innovating and commercialising their resulting innovation and Intellectual Property.

Nigerian companies may need to pay a little more attention to research, development and the resulting innovation that increases profitability which should be protected and commercialised by IP possibly Patents, Trademarks, Copyright  and Trade Secrets etc.

During exploration, extraction and transportation of Oil and gas, value is added to the unrefined Oil and Gas by technology, and other business practices that help process the extracts into useful and valuable consumer products.

The innovation, technology and business processes (Intellectual Property Assets) involved, are often protected by IP and become valuable assets to Oil and Gas companies, when they are registered and competitors prevented from accessing and using proprietary innovation for free.

Owners of such IP Assets may actively commercialise their assets by licensing them to companies willing to use these IP Assets in exchange for a license fee.

Trademark as an IP Assets in the Oil and Gas industry

The first barrel in any great oil and gas company is a good name. It should be registered as a trademark.  A trademark is a symbol or a sign which differentiates the goods and services of one business from another one. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment of license fees.

The Oil and Gas Industry is particularly susceptible to trademark issues as internal and external consumers rely on their trademarks to purchase goods and services from them.

Filling Stations and Trademark lawsuits

The Managing Director of NNPC Retail Limited, Mr. Fagbola Ladipo was reported to have alleged that the infringement on the NNPC trademark by the first defendant had begun to cause a dwindling in the sales of NNPC in Ondo State. He also alleged that the first defendant was imitating the NNPC logo by using its colour combination of red, yellow, green, uniform, emblem and the acronym NNPC…

The Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com) reported that sometime in 2003, a court awarded Rosneft oil company $95,000 in its trademark infringement lawsuit against EKA-AZS fuel company, which operates a large chain of filling stations.  The parties told the court they entered into a franchise agreement in 2005 for a term of 5 years, under which EKA-AZS paid $1,000 for the right to use Rosneft’s trademarks to sell fuel at 40 filling stations. Rosneft maintains the defendant illegally used trademarks for five months after the contract expired on September 29, 2010.

Sometime in 2015 LUKOIL North America filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against R.K. Keystone Mobile Mart Inc., Gurmeet Singh, As Airport Texaco Inc. and Swapnesh Sharma, alleging trademark infringement and trade dress infringement.

According to the complaint, the defendants own and operate the former LUKOIL fuel station at 3575 Airport Road in Allentown even though the station no longer is a franchise under the LUKOIL name.

Sometime in 2011, it was reported by Bloomberg that BP filling station operators in the western U.S. sued BP Plc. seeking $200 million in damages over allegations the company’s sales and inventory software they are forced to use is “an unmitigated disaster.”

Branding in oil and gas

Oil and Gas companies seldom attempt to suggest that they have perfectly “green credentials”. It may be more prudent to emphasise their capacity for innovation which benefits society in future and their importance in providing energy for today’s society.

 

The world’s most valuable Oil & Gas brands

Please find below a table of the world’s most valuable Oil and Gas Brands, at number 8 is Petronas, a national oil company just like the NNPC.

 

Rank 2015 Brand Name Domicile Brand Value ($) 2015
1 Shell Netherlands $30,716,000.00
2 ExxonMobil United States $18,242,000.00
3 Chevron United States $18,163,000.00
4 PetroChina China $17,521,000.00
5 Sinopec China $16,135,000.00
6 Total France $15,203,000.00
7 BP UK $14,743,000.00
8 Petronas Malaysia $9,480,000.00
9 Eni Italy $8,037,000.00
10 Gazprom Russia $ 6,961,000.00
11 Statoil Norway $6,528,000.00
12 ConocoPhillips United States $6,062,000.00
13 Petrobras Brazil $5,945,000.00
14 Mobil United States $4,696,000.00
15 CNOOC China $4,523,000.00
16 Esso United States $4,471,000.00
17 Enbridge Canada $4,340,000.00
18 Exxon United States $3,995,000.00
19 Schlumberger United States $3,994,000.00
20 PTT Thailand $3,681,000.00

 

Interestingly, some Energy brands operating in Nigeria’s upstream sector are struggling to erase negative perceptions especially as it concerns environmental compliance. We have recently seen a number of IOCs divest assets onshore possibly due to a whiplash from host communities over alleged unacceptable environmental practices. All these point to the importance of IP to an Oil and Gas company’s profitability.

 

Conclusion

The challenges facing our oil & gas industry ranging from the fall in crude oil prices to the perception of oil & gas companies by the local populace and the changing global energy landscape make it needful for active collaboration between all stakeholders. In addition, for our Local Oil and Gas companies to grow they may need to take their Research and Development and resulting IP like patents and trade secrets seriously, they may also wish to leverage on the advantages conferred on them by the local content policy currently being pushed by the government. It goes without saying that technological development does not happen by chance, it can be encouraged by good policies like the local content policy serving as a spring board for the inventiveness of our local companies to flourish. 

[1] Source http://www.eregistration.copyright.gov.ng/? last accessed on 30/03/2015

Olufola Wusu Esq © 2015

fola@megathoslaw.com

Olufola Wusu is a Commercial, Oil and Gas and I.P. Lawyer based in Lagos

OLUFOLA WUSU IS NOTED FOR HIS “DYNAMIC PRACTICE” AND “COMMERCIAL ACUMEN”. HE IS PRAISED FOR HIS “FIRST-RATE SKILLS” IN ASSISTING CLIENTS…

NNPC GROUP

NNPC GROUP

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A-Z of Protecting Mobile and Tablet Apps in Nigeria

A-Z of Protecting Mobile and Tablet Apps in Nigeria

Introduction

It’s a good thing if you think you have a mobile or tablet app that you are certain that the world needs.

Technology based transactions are growing everyday in Nigeria. Success stories abound from  “Hi Nolly”, “Nigerian Constitution app”, “Naija pings”, “Mocality”, “Slim Trader”, “M.Farm”, “M.Pedigree”  to numerous other popular apps Nigerians and numerous other nationals use.

Intellectual property (IP) is intangible property that is created in someone’s mind using his intellect or other tangible goods. Categories include apps, art, literary works, music, inventions, designs, processes and trademarks.

Intellectual property has value just like tangible property, and you have to protect it otherwise your property can be exploited without your knowledge or permission.

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

Nigerian 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;

Trade Marks Act, Cap. T13 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; and

Merchandise Marks Act Cap. M10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

Licenses and Your Rights

Great market

Risk starts early…

App piracy

Making money from your app

Black market stores for apps

Data generated

End-user agreement

Indemnity clauses

Privacy issues

Protecting your apps

Losing control of your app can be dangerous in many ways for you and your company. To take full control of your app, please get in touch with your I.P. Lawyer today.

Conclusion

Many issues come up when drafting a license agreement for your apps. Laws relating to intellectual property can be extremely complicated. An IP lawyer can provide invaluable help with drafting your agreement and enforcing it

Olufola Wusu Esq.  Copyright © 2012

.Legal Practitioner.  .Contracts Specialist. .Commercialization of Intellectual Property.

Partner with Megathos Law Practice

Okay let’s get started…

Your thoughts anyone?

Legal Disclaimer

by Megathos Law Practice

(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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BRAND NAMES/TRADEMARKS VS GENERIC TERMS: ARE THEY PROTECTED?

 BRAND NAMES/TRADEMARKS VS GENERIC TERMS: ARE THEY PROTECTED?

When last did you visit Shoprite (a shopping mall) or go to Silverbird (the Cinema) or eat Indomie (noodles) or Google a word (use a search engine)?

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign that is used to identify particular goods and services as those produced or provided by a certain person or business. It helps to distinguish goods and services produced by one business from similar ones provided by another.

For example, “GT BANK” is a trademark that relates to services (innovative banking and financial services).

Please find below the legal regime for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Nigeria.

Nigerian 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;

Trade Marks Act, Cap. T13 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004;

Trade Marks Regulations; and

Merchandise Marks Act Cap. M10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

 

Distinctive Names

The first asset in any great business is a good name. It should be registered as a trademark. A trademark must be distinctive and capable of distinguishing the goods or services with which it is used.

A trademark is usually a word, but it can also be a logo, an email address (folawusu@yahoo.com, a tag line “Just Do it”

Functions of a trademark

They usually; help consumers identify and distinguish products or services.

 

How is a trademark protected?

The most common and efficient way of protecting a trademark is to have it registered.

Why protect trademarks?

It provides business people with a remedy against unfair practices of competitors.

Most companies are always trying to make their brands household names.

But when a trade mark is being used as a general term to refer to all goods and services in its class, that trade mark can be said to be a genericized trade mark.

 

The Innovation Perspective

I.P. Lawyers would say this process is called “genericization”. At the very least companies must juggle their quest for brand recognition with the fear of brand dilution, leading to trademark loss or devaluation.

 

Brand Names can be declared Legally Generic after…

A company sues another firm for using its name and the case goes to court and the trademark is said to be genericized even though it was initially distinctive but has changed in meaning to become generic.

 

What if trademark protection is lost…?

Microsoft vs. Apple

Microsoft is challenging the “App Store” name. Apple first applied for the trademark in 2008, shortly after launching the App Store for the iPhone. Microsoft is seeking to thwart Apple’s claim to the “App Store” name.

Protecting your brand from becoming Generic

What can Brand owners do to protect their brand and prevent it from becoming generic? That is a discussion for another day.

Conclusion

In Nigeria you probably won’t lose your trademark because your mark has become generic. However you would probably still suffer the business consequences that would arise from the weakness of your trademarks.  As a trademark owner, you still have to actively protect your trademarked name. That means using it consistently and protecting it against infringement and from becoming a generic term.

Perhaps our trademark laws need to be amended such that a trademark owner loses his trademark once his trademark becomes generic as generic terms should continue to be available for use by all without fear of reprisal by a trademark owner especially one that made or watched or his trademark become generic.

 

Olufola Wusu Esq. © 2012

Lead Partner Megathos Law Practice

He can be reached at folawusu@yahoo.com

Copyright © 2012

Lead Partner with Megathos Law Practice

Okay let’s get started…

Your thoughts anyone?

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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Intellectual property rights and oil field service industry

Intellectual property rights and oil field service industry

 

IT is commendable that the Federal Government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) decided to award nearly half of the 2012/2013 crude oil lifting contracts worth approximately $60 billion to Nigerian companies…

by Olufola Oluseun Wusu

 

Intellectual property rights and oil field service industry.

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HOSPITAL BRUTALITY AND PUBLIC SECTOR BRANDING IN LAGOS

HOSPITAL BRUTALITY AND PUBLIC SECTOR BRANDING IN LAGOS

There was chaos at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where families of victims of the Dana Air crash were busy collecting remains of dead relatives as there was a brutal and savage attack on Leadership newspaper photojournalist, Mr Benedict Uwalaka, on Thursday, August 9, 2012 by officials of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) believed to be mortuary attendants.

However, without dwelling on the legality or illegality of the above actions this paper will attempt to examine the Intellectual property ramifications of the said action

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

 

Nigerian 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

 

Public sector brands In Nigeria

In Lagos State many Public Sector organisations are beginning to brand effectively. Some have used bright colours, catchy slogans, or informative and navigable website, in all public sector bodies in Lagos State are looking like they mean business. They no longer come across as being aloof and unnecessarily bureaucratic. They now appear to be open, approachable, and yes desire to build working relationships with us, the citizens.

The other day I had to carry out a transaction at the Registrar of Limited Liability Partnerships at Ministry of Justice Alausa Lagos, their response was swift and the staff were courteous at all times.

Lagos State University Teaching Hospital as a Public Sector brand

According to information available on its website, the General Hospital Ikeja was commissioned for treatment of patients from Ikeja and its environs on June 29th 1955. It was originally a cottage hospital but later transformed to a full fledge General hospital.

It is pertinent to note that the General Hospital has now been transformed into a Teaching Hospital of repute from 9th February, 1999.

Thus it can be easily deduced that this hospital is a creation of statute and that it exists in the public sector as a public sector brand.

Distinctive Names

The first ingredient in any great public sector brand 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, an email address (folawusu@yahoo.com, a tag line “Eko oni baje” “Ebe Ano”. Whether registered or not, a name is a valuable asset that can be protected under the tort of passing off.

A strong trademark is virtually mandatory for all public sector brands. As a matter of fact Section 30 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act contains some restrictions on the use of certain words as a Company name.

Further protection for a Statutory Brand can also be found in Section 62 of the Trademarks Act which grants protection to the “Coat of Arms” of both State Governments and Federal Governments by placing clear restrictions on the registration of any brand bearing these Arms.

A Public sector brand can be defined as a name, term, sign, symbol, design or a combination of colours intended to identify the Services of one Public Sector Institution, and differentiate it from that of another Public sector Institution.

 

Public sector brands are some of the most powerful and engaging brands in existence in Lagos.

LASTMA, KAI, VIO, NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH, LIRS, LTV and LAWMA amongst others, to a large extent elicit tremendous loyalty/disdain from employees and a large numbers of people/Lagosians who feel a strong emotional attachment towards them.

It is however important to realise that effective public sector brands are about engaging people and changing behaviours not just by words but by timely actions and not just about logos and banners (although of course the visual expression is an important branding tool in every branding campaign ).

The number of public sector brands in Lagos has grown in recent times. Quite a number of reasons are behind this, including the growth of government and its extension into all aspects of society.

One can however argue that there is only one brand that counts in the Lagos public sector sphere– and that is the Lagos Government. That would be assuming that all the other public sector brands are sub-brands deriving their value from the major brand Lagos State, so damage done to a public sector institution is damage done to the brand of Lagos State that seems to have consolidated on the catch line the centre of excellence with breath-taking innovation obvious to all and sundry..

From the Horse’s mouth…

Mr Uwalaka was quoted as saying the following:

“I came to LASUTH in the morning to cover the release of the corpses of victims of the DANA Air crash. Some vehicles were deliberately used to block the entrance to the mortuary to prevent access. From a distance, I took the pictures of the vehicles. Suddenly I heard a voice behind me, saying ‘shows me your camera, show me your camera. What pictures are you taking?’ Suddenly, somebody came from behind and snatched the camera from me.”

He said the attackers began beating him mercilessly, hitting him with their fists, sticks, bottles and other dangerous weapons, resulting in serious bodily injuries, especially on his face. Indeed, dangerous weapons were freely used to inflict injuries on his head.

 

An eyewitness perhaps…

According to media reports, another journalist, Mr Kola Olasupo, who was present at the scene, corroborated Mr Uwalaka’s account.

He was quoted as saying

“Uwalaka was wrongly attacked for an offence he did not commit and his camera destroyed by attendants and officials of the mortuary; if we were not around to rescue him while the mortuary men pounced on him and stabbed him, he would have died from severe loss of blood.”

But the Police is our Friend…

The incident was immediately reported at the Area ‘F’ Police Division headquarters in Ikeja where Uwalaka was taken to by his colleagues and a police report sought to take him to the emergency unit of the hospital.

It’s curious that the police station beside the hospital where the incident was reported refused to act on the lodged by the Uwalaka, possibly there were a little over stretched at this time.

This is poor branding on their part, they would simply have saved the day by nipping such violence in the bud, and refusal to answer a call for help in a brawl does not inspire much confidence that calls for help will be answered when assailants are armed with firearms et al.

A Case of Double Standards perhaps?

Swift detention of accused nursing mother but no action on murderous attackers of photo journalist…

Why has the nursing mother accused of murdering a Lastma official been held in detention even when she denies the allegation? While we have a video clip by Channels Television of multiple assailants/officials murderously attacking a photojournalist armed with his camera, they are not even denying the crime captured on video camera yet they are still walking free while the government, police and hospital management are busy passing the buck back and forth.

Why invite journalists to your hospital if you don’t want them around?

If people are not safe in a hospital which is meant to be a sanctuary for the infirm then where then are they safe? Does it make any sense that Uwaleke walked into the hospital whole but walked out with horrific injuries and awful bruises? Is the hospital hiding something?

Does the hospital not owe the photo journalist a duty of care?

I beg to think that they actually do, there is a good reason why contractors are vetted, and this is because the lines separating an agent from an independent contractor are easily blurred thus making vicarious liability anything but a distant reality.

 

An unreserved apology…

Our Hardworking and Innovative Governor an oral apology however unreserved would simply not do.

For one,  your Excellency, it won’t heal the photojournalist’s injuries, it won’t pay his medical bills as he would need to nurse those horrific injuries he was inflicted with ( seeing the shoddy treatment he allegedly received at the said hospital one doubts the wisdom in going back for more maltreatment, …sorry treatment..). It does not suffice as compensation which the law courts would gladly award all things been equal and it won’t in any way deter other evil doers from assaulting other people…

The future of Public Sector Health Institution Branding

All branding is about communicating a clear offer to your customers or users, however for public sector health institutions organisations, such as hospitals and health services, the focus may be on clarity and access to important information.

So branding and design may focus on signposting information or communicating issues clearly in order to change people’s behaviour.

Like many others, we’ve been deeply saddened by the video clip of that brazen assault on citizen Uwaleke, this highlights the undignified attitude of some care givers towards people in our hospitals and care homes.

In too many cases, people like Uwaleke have been let down when they were vulnerable and most needed help.

We know there are some hospitals and care homes providing great care, and we need to learn from them to get dignified care right for every person, every time and at every place.

Hospitals and care homes should be lights to the rest of the community, demonstrating how we are all the richer when people are protected, respected, valued and celebrated. I mean if you are not safe from physical assault in a hospital then where are you safe?

We need a major cultural shift in the way everyone in care thinks about dignity to ensure care is person-centred and not task-focused.

It is absolutely clear that we all need to work together to improve dignity in health care and earn back public confidence in the health institutions in Lagos State.

 

Conclusion

Re-branding Lagos won’t be very effective when staff/ assorted hangers-on of public sector institutions go out of their way to negatively rebrand our beloved state with such despicable acts and vile behaviour.

An apology was the first step in the right direction, now we expect swift and hard sanctions Your Excellency!

Men set their hearts to do evil when punishment is slow in coming; it is probably not the first time such barbaric acts would have taken place, but as long as they remain unpunished men will continue to behave in such vile and despicable ways. Eko oni baje o!

Olufola Wusu Esq. © 2012

Counsel with Megathos Law Practice

Olufola Wusu is a Contract Review Specialist 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.

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HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN NIGERIA: PROS AND CONS

 

HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN NIGERIA: PROS AND CONS

It has been reported in the news that out of the 388 acreages in the country, 173 had been allocated to 85 companies that are involved in the upstream business, while 215 were yet to be allocated to investors. It was also disclosed that 70 per cent of the 315 oil fields in these 173 acreages are producing oil and gas, while about 30 per cent of the fields are still going through exploration and appraisal stages.

Concerns about Hydraulic Fracturing Hydraulic fracturing is highly variable and unpredictable, and because drinking water supplies are extremely precious resources, numerous concerns have been raised.

Possible Legal Regime regulating Hydraulic fracturing…

Economic Pressure: Natural Gas Development

In Nigeria natural gas has become an important and extremely valuable fuel, Nigeria has approximately 184 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves. Fracturing and the Environment Allegations of water quality impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing date back to at least the early 1990s, but hard evidence has gradually began to surface.

Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing… In this writer’s opinion, both Federal and State Environmental Protection Agencies should carry out comprehensive research in conjunction with civil society groups to ascertain and obtain credible evidence of environmental risks and possible economic benefits obtainable from fracking.  

Air Quality Protection

Concerns also have been raised over potential air impacts. Generally, natural gas contains significantly lower levels of greenhouse gases than coal and other fossil fuels, and therefore increased energy production with natural gas has the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions. Air controls would be used to address the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of natural gas produced by fracking.

Hydraulic Fracturing Best Practices

It is common to use diesel in hydraulic fracturing fluids. This should be avoided, since diesel contains the carcinogen benzene, as well as other harmful chemicals such as naphthalene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. It is technologically feasible to replace diesel with non-toxic additives such as plain water.

Possibility of Bans and Moratoriums

Despite movement toward reasonable regulation to address concerns related to hydraulic fracturing, there is still a strong movement, especially in the mid-Atlantic, toward banning all hydraulic fracturing. New York is the only U.S. state that has actually instituted any sort of ban or moratorium on fracking. Bulgaria and France have banned Hydraulic fracturing while in South Africa there is a moratorium on same.

Conclusion

The debate over hydraulic fracturing should commence sometime soon and should not be silenced, but it should remain based on fact, it should be focused on the protection that is already in place and what actually is being done to increase that protection or it will have failed to serve the public interest. In this writer’s opinion shedding light on the current status of facts should assist in that endeavour.

  Olufola Wusu Esq. © 2012

Counsel with Megathos Law Practice

Olufola Wusu is a Contract Review Specialist and Intellectual Property consultant

He can be reached at folawusu@yahoo.com for legal advice and more.

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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Oil and Gas Industry:Innovation/Intellectual Property based or a Commodity Market?

Introduction

The Occupy Nigeria demonstrations of the 1st of January 2012, the oil subsidy probe and the ensuing “entrapment gone awry” gives credence to the fact that the oil and gas industry is risky, political and very expensive. Furthermore, the industry is constantly being scrutinised by governments, numerous regulatory bodies, investors and ordinary citizens.

It’s also important because it energises every other industry in the world.

I guess you are thinking, there is enough money to go around in Oil and Gas Industry, so why bother with “innovation” i.e. Intellectual Property?

For starters, Oil and gas companies are expected to comply with the mantra, “cheaper, better and faster” i.e. more productivity, less cost to consumers, but it must still manage international politics and not mess up our environment.

Safety…

Innovation Management

Paradoxically the oil and gas industry probably has the best tools and capabilities covering operational efficiency and decision making.

 

Exploiting innovation

Innovative Contract Review and Environmental Protection

There is a possibility that contract review and negotiation can help stem the tide of pollution and environmental degradation…

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

 

Oily Intellectual Property;

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 normally only be exploited (manufactured, used, sold, imported) with the authorization of the owner of the patent

Why Oil and Gas companies are yet to fall in love with Patents …

Is Innovation necessary?

How important is our competition?

What does IP have to do with Oil and Gas?

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.

 

Contractual Protection for Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are more appropriately protected by contract.

Commercialisation of Patents and Trade Secret

Patents are public documents which disclose information about the invention (technology) in exchange for state protection.

Copyrights

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.

TRADEMARKS

The first barrel in any great oil and gas company is a good name. It should be registered as a trademark.

 

Oily IP Transactions

Formal accounting procedures for IP assets are fast evolving, but they are generally not on the balance sheet of the average companies that own them, and they are sometimes ignored by financial analysts.

            Conclusion

The upstream oil and gas industry has been described as a “knowledge industry” because of new technologies such as three-dimensional acoustical sounding, horizontal drilling, and deep offshore drilling.

Perhaps the National assembly should do well by including provisions on Intellectual Property and Hydraulic Fracturing in the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill, which should help nudge the Industry in the right direction IP wise.

Olufola Wusu Esq. © 2012

Counsel with Megathos Law Practice

Olufola Wusu is a Contract Review Specialist and Intellectual Property consultant

He can be reached at folawusu@yahoo.com

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by Olufola Wusu Esq

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