Fast growing Nigerian beverage maker Rite Foods drags NBC to court over alleged trademark infringement

NIGERIA – Rite Foods, a fast-rising indigenous food and beverage company in Nigeria has taken to court giant beverage maker Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), over allegedly infringing on its trademark.

According to the maker of the famous Bigi brand, NBC’s Predator Energy drink logo and brand share a resemblance with its own Fearless drink, which had existed for three years before NBC began to produce Predator, reports Guardian Nigeria.

The plaintiff, Rite Foods Limited, has filed for an interim injunction against the defendant, NBC, restraining it from further 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 an injunction is determined.

Rite Foods’ launched Fearless energy drink in 2017 while NBC introduced Predator energy drink in 2020

The plaintiff alleged that trademark infringement of its product by NBC negated the common law property right in the goodwill of Fearless energy drinks and Trade Marks Act, Cap T 13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, which offers exclusive rights to get ups and designs of products already in use by it.

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In an affidavit attached to the suit, Rite Foods’ Fearless energy drinks, which consist of the Red Berry and Classic brands, were launched into the Nigerian market on June 15 and 16, 2017, respectively, and has gained a wider market share before the NBC’s Predator brand which made entrant in June 2020.

It stated that with the infringement by NBC, consumers are likely to assume (mistakenly) that the aforementioned energy drinks in the case are from one source or cause confusion on the sponsorship of the brands offered under the defendant’s mark.

In response to the case, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) has disclosed that the company is set to contest the court case, reports Naira Metrics.

The management of the bottler of Coca-Cola in Nigeria disclosed that NBC is well within its rights to continue to sell the Predator products, adding that neither the company nor its Managing Director, is in breach of any court order.

NBC noted that the court case will be vigorously contested and the management is confident that after due consideration of the merits of the case, the Court will confirm its rights based on Predator energy drink’s established use of the Predator brand and logo in many other markets around the world.

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