Contempt case against NBC’s MD ruling appealed, as Fearless Vs Predator passing-off case continues


.NBC Managing Director, Mathieu Seguin

The ruling of the alleged contempt case against the Managing Director of the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Mathieu Seguin which was set aside on Wednesday, December 1, by Justice A.L Allagoa’s Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has been appealed by Rite Foods.

During the proceedings at the court, counsel to Rite Foods, Muyiwa Ogungbenro and that of the defendant, Oluseye Opasanya (SAN), were in court to seek clarification on the legal implication on why the contemnor should not be punished according to the law on committal.

Justice A.L Allagoa in his ruling decided in his own capacity and discretion to set aside the contempt proceeding, but his ruling has been appealed by Rite Foods.

The contempt proceeding is an offshoot of a claim filed by Rite Foods alleging passing-off by NBC of its Fearless energy drinks.

In the claim, which is before Hon. Justice Aneke, Rite Foods obtained interim injunctions against the NBC to stop it from advertising or promoting its Predator energy drink in a manner that is capable of infringing on its Fearless energy drinks. 

Rite Foods alleges that NBC and its Managing Director, Mathieu Seguin disobeyed the interim order.

By the contempt proceedings, Rite Foods is seeking orders committing NBC’s managing director to prison until the company obeys the injunctions.

It would be recalled that the passing-off case came to light sometime in March 2021 in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/92/2021 at the Federal High Court, Lagos. 

Form 48 was published on Friday, March 19, 2021, in ThisDay and Guardian Newspapers.

 Rite Foods alleges that NBC has infringed on its trademark with its Predator energy drink, which has adopted a lion head in resemblance to the mark on its Fearless energy drinks brand.

Rite Foods claims that it has been using and trading with the lion image since 2017, three years before the NBC’s Predator came into the market in 2020.

The report also contains notice of consequences of disobedience of court order issued to NBC’s Managing Director and an ex parte order restraining the company from promoting or using any sales promotion material for its Predator energy drink in a manner that infringes or passes off or that is capable of infringing or passing off the plaintiff’s Fearless energy drink until the interlocutory application for injunction is determined.

The case on the alleged trademark infringement continues and has been fixed for January 12, 2022, for further hearing.




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