October 10, 2023
Bentex Torlafia is an author, poet, lawyer, scholar, WIPO Academy alumnus and advocate for African creatives. Learning all about intellectual property (IP) has helped him forge a path for creatives in his home country, Nigeria.
Bentex is an avid lover of books, having read all the popular best sellers. He started writing poetry in high school after some encouragement from his English teacher, and self-published a collection of poetry in 2010 called “Rains always… in my country”. He was 24 years old and at the time found traditional publishers to be too expensive and complicated. However, in 2023 he published an anthology of short stories entitled “Love, Death, Echoes & Ripples”, this time with a publisher. His latest collection is an introspection of living, loving and dying, and explores all the uncertainties of life and the ripple effects of everyday actions.
Nearly 13 years after his first publication experience, Bentex felt confident enough to sign an author-publisher contract with NIRPRI Publishers-Nigeria for his second collection of written works after having built a strong background in IP. He graduated in 2022 with a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in IP with a Specialization in Patent Law and Design Law after successfully completing the Joint Master’s Degree Program offered by the WIPO Academy, the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TÜRKPATENT) and Ankara University in Türkiye.
At the undergraduate level, Bentex studied law at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria and decided to pursue further studies in IP law in particular because as a creative at heart, he was determined to work in a field that allowed him to support creatives and writers in Africa. IP therefore felt like the right fit.
Prior to his enrollment in the LL.M. program, Bentex completed several WIPO Academy Distance Learning Courses, and he participated in two WIPO Summer Schools. He first attended the WIPO-Nigeria Summer School in 2021, followed by the WIPO-China Summer School in 2022, which he attended remotely as it was during his graduate studies at Ankara University. In 2023, he successfully participated in the first edition of the Global Public Health “PatentX” course, jointly offered by WIPO and Harvard Law School.
The support from the WIPO Academy was immense and strategic as it gave me a specialization. I also really appreciated the cross-cultural exchanges among fellow participants in the LL.M. program because I learned about the different cultures and IP policies in their countries. The greatest gift WIPO gave us were the friendships we forged through the program, it is a true blessing because we constantly help each other out on IP issues and other life matters.Bentex Torlafia, Author, Poet, IP Lawyer, and WIPO Academy Alumnus
Since graduating, Bentex continues to write poetry and short stories, he has worked as an advisor for legislators at the local and national levels, a part-time research assistant and IP lecturer at the Faculty of Law of Benue State University in Nigeria, and he co-founded a literary agency called Nasara Creative with fellow poet, writer, and architect, Bash Amuneni.
Nasara Creative operates from Abuja, Nigeria, and its youth-led team routinely organize literary creative festivals and events such as book readings and tours, competitions, open mics, poetry slams, in addition to offering support with the management of the IP rights of poets, performers and creative writers in the area. Nasara Creative is also involved with national IP issues and projects including creative or literary competitions in cooperation with Nigerian IP agencies and the WIPO Nigeria Office.
Since acquiring advanced WIPO IP knowledge and certification, I have been able to support, promote and establish ground rules for creatives in Nigeria to always try to have a workable contract with their promoters, publishers, photographers, videographers, vendors, producers, art directors and record labels with regards to their IP, through the establishment of a literary creative agency called "Nasara Creative". Through the creative agency we are collaborating and partnering with other creative bodies and agencies in Nigeria to foster IP-friendly projects.Bentex Torlafia, Author, Poet, IP Lawyer, and WIPO Academy Alumnus
Bentex at the public book launch event for his collection of short stories titled “Love, Death, Echoes & Ripples” in February 2023. The event was organized by Nasara Creative in conjunction with the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). (Photos: Michael A. Obiabo)
Bentex is currently a postgraduate student studying for a Ph.D. in IP law at the Nasarawa State University in Keffi, Nigeria to further expand his IP expertise. He hopes to use his IP knowledge to add value to his country as a policymaker and as a university professor in the future. Bentex was inspired by what he learned about the Marrakesh Treaty during the LL.M. in IP and with the support of his friend Samuel Paul Idem, he is working on making some of the short stories from “Love, Death, Echoes & Ripples” available in braille for the visually impaired. He hopes to distribute the braille versions to special schools in Nigeria once he is able to mass produce them.
The WIPO Academy offers year-long opportunities for those wishing to develop their IP knowledge and skills through its Professional Development Program, Distance Learning courses, Joint Master’s Programs and WIPO Summer Schools.
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