Justice Lewis Allagoa of a Lagos Federal High Court, today, fixed October 27, for hearing of all applications in a Contempt application filed by Rite Foods Limited against Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and it’s Managing Director, Matthieu Seguin, over alleged trademark infringement.
Justice Allagoa fixed the date after counsel to the parties informed him that all application in the suit have been filed and exchanged among the parties.
Rite Foods Limited in the suit numbered
FHC/L/CS/92/2021, has accused NBC and it’s Managing Director of using it’s Fearless energy drink’s logo on their ‘Predator’ energy drink.
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.
Mr. Muyiwa Ogungbenro, Rite Foods’ counsel, had claimed that Predator’s lion insignia bears a striking resemblance to it’s ‘Fearless’ energy drink.
He therefore asked the court through an Exparte motion, to restrain NBC, bottler of Coca-Cola drinks and Predator energy drink, and it’s Managing Director from production of the Predator energy drink.
Despite the granting the Exparte application, NBC allegedly continue brewing the energy with the contending logo on it, the development which made Rite Foods Limited to file contempt application against the respondents/defendants.
But NBC had denied any claim of trademark violation or passing off with its Predator Energy drink, vowing to contest the case vigorously in court.
NBC has also asked the court to set aside an Ex-parte injunction obtained by Rite Foods Limited against the continued promotion the Predator Energy drink in the Nigerian market.
It further asked the court to dismiss Rite Foods’ committal application brought against NBC’s Managing Director, Mr. Matthieu Seguin, for alleged disobedience to the interim order.
NBC through its counsel, Mr. 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 in use in many markets outside of Nigeria even prior to the launch of Fearless by Rite Foods in the Nigerian market.
Opesanya (SAN) also asked the court that before his client’s, NBC and it’s Managing Director, Mr. 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.
But Rite Foods Limited’s counsel, Ogungbenro, told the court that before the alleged contemnors applications could be heard, the alleged contemnors must appear before the court, as the case against them is a criminal in nature.