The Mercy Aigbe Dress Drama has been the talk of the town since it was revealed that the red dress used in her birthday shoot was intended for a bride-to-be to wear as a second dress on her wedding day. It was definitely wrong of the designer but we examine whether or not she broke the law.
Designer Maryam Elisha has been accused of taking a client’s material and giving it to popular Nollywood actress Mercy Aigbe instead. In a bid to clear her name, the designer took to social media. She claimed the dresses she made for the respective clients were so similar that it was simply a mix-up.
People however were skeptical about Maryam’s flimsy excuse claiming it seemed to be far too convenient. Whilst the designer has tried to absolve herself of any blame, we have to ask, by law, what exactly has the designer done wrong.
Whilst the material and the concept belonged to the client, it was indeed Maryam who made and designed it. People’s ideas and property stand to be at risk from copycats and theft and so protecting ones intellectual property is paramount. Furthermore, if a client has paid for a service then a contractual relationship has been entered and must be honoured by law.
According to a lawyer who spoke about the legal implications of this situation and whether or not the original client stood in a good position to sue Maryam Elisha.
He said, “In this case, there are two parts; civil and criminal. With the civil aspect, the designer entered into a contract with the client to provide a service and a product and money exchanged hands. By law, the designer is duty bound to provide said service. The circumstantial evidence shows that there has been a breech of contract between client and designer which in itself has legal implications.
The second part is the criminal aspect in which we could argue that the dress, intended for the client has been stolen. Stolen means ‘taking somebody’s property without permission’ and if the client has paid for the dress, this is certainly the case.
The law will always provide remedy when there is an injury and in this case the client has not only been inconvenienced but also decieved. In my opinion, she would definitely have grounds to sue said designer.”