Bounce Exclusive: Nigerian Breweries Entangled In 250 Million Naira Suit
4 years ago he did something brave. He sued. Not just anyone but Nigerian Breweries.
Nigerians have lost hope in the legal system when it comes to suing, because it either drags on for too long or people are discouraged from even trying, but not Martins Omosogie.
He is suing the Nigerian Breweries for copyright infringement fraud and he is not holding back, as he has placed a 250 million Naira stake on his claim.
Nigerian Breweries on their part maintain a hard stand saying they do not know and have never met Martins Omosogie.
It all started with an idea.
The young entrepreneur and father, who has consulted for several media and advertising agencies, claims in 2011 he got a new concept for the popular show ‘Gulder Ultimate Search’.
He explains the idea would promote brand loyalty and it was called the ‘Street Gulder Ultimate Search’.
It allows fans of both the game show and the drink to participate in a search without going into the jungle.
Martins claims he met Tunde Ayodele, a journalist and creative enthusiast like himself, together they fine-tuned the idea, and approached a contact in Jungle films.
It was through this contact that they got connected to someone inside Nigerian Breweries.
The duo under the moniker, Spectre Consult claim they visited the producer of many popular beer brands in the country twice, to pitch and submit their idea.
They say they were told by a representative of the company that no 'plans were in place to do anything with crown corks', but promised to get back to them.
Neither Martins nor Tunde heard from Nigerian Breweries again for the rest of 2011 and throughout 2012.
The duo claim they made a big mistake by assuming that Nigerian Breweries had dumped the idea.
2013 marked the beginning of litigation, accusations and counter accusations, and it started with the promotion of the Gulder Ultimate Search 10 ‘The fans edition’.
Fans of the brand and the game show got to participate in a search without going into the jungle.
Martins and Tunde claim there are similarities between Gulder Ultimate Search's 10th Fans Edition and Martins concept for the Street Gulder Ultimate Search.
They say both ideas recognize that every fan is a contestant, who goes on a 1 day search which involves checking for a code under the crown cork that gives the fans a task or a puzzle to solve.
Through their lawyers, Martins and Tunde notified Nigerian Breweries, to let them know that the idea was used without their permission.
On October 2 and 9 2013, Nigerian Breweries replied in 2 letters denying knowledge or dealings with Martins or Tunde.
Four 4 years later, the plaintiff's lawyers are still trying to establish that a relationship exists between Nigerian Breweries, Martins and Tunde.
The organizers of Gulder Ultimate Search insist that they already have creative companies assigned to the reality TV show and did not need an external influence to create a derivative of their original idea.
In the past 4 years, Martins has gotten married, received the birth of his son and has more consulting jobs. Martins has also considered dumping the case many times because of its financial drain but he says 'no retreat, no surrender'.
"One of the reasons I decided to take this matter to court is because there are other budding entrepreneurs who still need to have the courage to do the things they love and actually work for.
"One of the things that I actually got to know during the trial, was what copyright really means. I now also understand what patent is.
"The same can be done to any other budding entrepreneur who is trying to pass his ideas out there, but I also feel that taking this matter to court will also give confidence to the next man who has been cheated or usurped by the things he has given energy to
"I am doing this to make that particular statement, that gives me joy, I don't think I will have any regret for that. I actually stood up for the things I believe," he said.
The last trial days have been fixed from May 24 to 26.