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Alleged trademark infringement: Court to hear contempt suit against Nigerian Bottling Company October 27


By Francis IWUCHUKWU 

A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Lewis Allagoa, on Wednesday fixed October 27, 2021, as the day to entertain all applications in a contempt application filed by Rite Food Limited, against the Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC, and it's Managing Director, MD, Mattieu Seguine, over alleged trademark infringement.

The judge arrived at the date after counsel to the parties informed the court that all applications in the suit have been filed and exchanged among the parties.

It would be recalled that Rite Foods Limited had in an action designated FHC/L/CS/92/2021, accused NBC and its MD of using its Fearless energy drink's logo on their 'predator' energy drink.

Specifically, Rite Foods had on February 9, 2021, asked the court for an order restraining NBC from further promoting its Predator Energy drink in the Nigerian market.

Rite Foods through its counsel, Muyiwa Ogungbenro, claimed that Predator's lion insignia bears a striking resemblance to its 'Fearless' energy drink. 

Though, NBC denied any claim of trademark violation or passing off with its Predator Energy drink vowing to contest the case vigorously in court. 

On its part, NBC had also asked the court to set aside an ex-parte injunction, obtained by Rite Foods Limited against the continued promotion of the Predator Energy drink in the Nigerian market.

It further asked the court to dismiss Rite Foods' committal application brought against NBC’s boss, Matthieu Seguin, for alleged disobedience to the interim order. 

However, NBC's counsel, Oluseye Opasanya (SAN) in one of the proceedings, told Justice Allagoa that Rite Foods' applications were brought malafide and were without merit as the suit lacked a firm ground to stand in law. 

He contended that the Predator logo had been in existence and use in many markets outside of Nigeria even before the launch of Fearless by Rite Foods in the Nigerian market. 

Opasanya (SAN) also asked the court that before his client's, NBC and its MD, Mattiue Seguin, alleged contemnor, could appear before the court, their applications challenging the court Jurisdiction, discharging the order Exparte and dismissing Rite Foods' suit must first be heard and determined.

Responding, Rite Foods' counsel, Ogungbenro, told the court that before the alleged contemnor's applications could be heard, the alleged contemnor must appear before the court, as the case against them is criminal.

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