Please introduce yourself.

I’m a Partner at HighTower Solicitors and Advocates. My expertise includes oversight of entertainment talent negotiations and superstar talent careers, assisting entrepreneurs and companies with financing, operations, sales and acquisitions, outside general counsel services, trademarks, new technology, mediation services and employment advice.

What actions should designers take before making their works public to ensure they can get compensation in the event of theft?

Copyright Law protects completed graphic element whether registered or not. Even though you have the option to register, it’s always a good idea to, at least, keep detailed records of the work you’ve created. There should be some kind of documentation digitally or physically, showing attribution (the source of the work). On the other hand, graphic works can be registered with the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

When designers create works (graphics, designs or logos) that are used to identify products or services or confer distinction in a commercial sense, it is important to also have some proof of attribution and a proper execution of a Copyright Assignment Agreement. This will enable the client or commissioner of the work secure his interest in the Trademark produced by the designer.
It is often advised that graphic works are registered, this way there is evidence that the original author created the design, and he can on the strength of this claim for damages in court.

When theft occurs after these actions have been taken, what processes should be followed to get the compensation?

Once it has been confirmed that an infringement has occurred, the author of the design should seek out an experienced Intellectual Property lawyer to help arrest the infringement. It is most likely that the lawyer will write the person or entity infringing the designer’s work, and in the letter he will render his complaint, and ask that the infringement be stopped immediately. He can also go a step further to ask for compensation for the economic injury or loss of earnings caused by the infringement.

Most of the time, the recipient of the letter will respond and seek an avenue for amicable settlement. If this fails, the lawyer will file a suit at the Federal High Court.

Copyright Registration is not a compulsory exercise. It is advisable though, because it offers more guarantees and evidential value. Nonetheless, compensation can be obtained when there is an infringement in a work that has not be registered at the Copyright Commission.

Executing projects smoothly between a designer and a client requires a contract. What subjects should a contract address so as to make it binding?


  1. The identity of the parties involved
  2. The address of the parties involved
  3. The consideration or the fees payable for work done.
  4. Transfer of ownership of the intellectual property.
  5. Scope of work to be done and the turnaround time for delivery of the work.
  6. Clause for Client making contributions on getting a satisfactory finished work.
  7. Indemnity Clauses stating that the designer will be responsible in the event that any incident of copyright infringement is alleged upon the use of the work.
  8. Warrants and Representation that the rights assigned is transferable to beneficiaries and assignees of the Client.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How to Write a Contract and Get Compensation if Your Design is Stolen

More thoughts