Oluchi Orlandi, top supermodel and former winner of the Face of Africa pageant, has lost out in a copyright suit case filed against her at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The former beauty queen was charged to court for copyright and trademark infringement by one Chudi Charles, CEO of International Pageant and Films, for infringing on his West Africa’s Next Top Model trademark.
Nigerian Copyrights Commission, Etisalat Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mtech, Multichoice Nigeria, and CBS Corporation of the United States are also joined in the suit.
On February 12, the preliminary objections filed by Oluchi was dismissed.
According to The Nation, Charles said that he registered West Africa’s Top Model as a trademark in 2003 with the aim of developing pageantry in this part of the world, but to his chagrin, some other body is using his brand name with impunity.
Charles said: “We registered it in order for people who want to organise it to pay us royalty. That is normally what is done. That is why we went through all that but the culture of impunity left by the previous administration is reflecting in what these companies have adopted. The case was filed during the previous administration but they felt that with impunity, they can do anything,”.
Meanwhile, the defendants, led by Oluchi, have objected, claiming that they got the rights to host and perform Africa’s Next Top Model from Tyra Banks, the organiser of America’s Next Top Model.
They said: “When they filed their objection, if it was to succeed, they would have presented before the court a superior title. Since they were unable to present a superior title before the court, their objection has to fail. If they believe that they have a superior title, they would have presented it to the court. That is why we are suing them for damages of N780bn,”
When asked if he is open to negotiation, Charles said: “Of course what is stopping us from negotiating. I don’t have to reach out to them, they have to reach out to us.”