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Court sets aside contempt suit against Nigerian Bottling Company



Court sets aside contempt suit against Nigerian Bottling Company

Judge Ambrose Allagoa of a Federal High Court, Lagos, annulled a legal proceeding Ltd against the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) on allegations of trademark infringement.

The court overturned the lawsuit, while ruling on the various motions filed and the parties alleged Wednesday.

The Nigerian News Agency reports that Rite Foods had initiated contempt proceedings against NBC and its management on issues bordering on the alleged infringement of the Lion head trademark of its “Fearless” energy drink.

The substantive transfer claim was filed with Judge Chukwujekwu Aneke sometime in March in claim No: FHC / L / CS / 92/2021.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had infringed on his trademark with his Predator energy drink, a lion’s head similar to the same trademark in his Fearless energy drink brand.

The plaintiff claimed that he has been trading in the lion’s image since 2017 before NBC’s Predator drink hit the market in 2020.

Consequently, he requested an exparte order before Judge Aneke, preventing the defendants from posing as his energy drink, so that he could infringe on his trademark.

Consequently, Judge Aneke dismissed the order.

NBC, for its part, had filed an appeal and, consequently, requested the suspension of the proceedings before Judge Aneke, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Concerned about the court’s provisional order, the plaintiff then filed a contempt lawsuit before Judge Allagoa, requesting a judicial process against the defendants for alleged disobedience to court orders.

The alleged contenders for their part also filed appeals before Judge Allagoa, requesting an order to dismiss the contempt process in its entirety.

They had argued that the lawsuit cannot be executed as Judge Aneke’s orders had already been carried out on September 27.

informs that on the last postponement date of November 15, the court heard the arguments of the respective lawyers to the parties, who advanced, adopted and argued their motions.

Consequently, the court reserved the ruling for Wednesday, December 1.

In delivering its judgment, the court held:

“I have examined the processes presented in accordance with the two requests and the argument of the attorneys, and it is observed that the two motions presented / applicants seek an order that nullifies the judicial process in its entirety.

“All parties are on par in admitting the fact that the provisional injunctions based on which the plaintiff seeks to convict the defendant in contempt have been discharged that granted the order.

“That order was discharged brother, Judge CJ Aneke on September 27, 2021.

“While the plaintiff / defendant argued that this court can sanction for contempt during the order period, the defendants / petitioners argue otherwise.

“I agree with the principle of law that a judicial process is a legal enforcement mechanism used to enforce compliance with an existing and enforceable court order, commitment or directive.

“The foundation of any detention procedure is, therefore, the disobedience of a valid, existing and enforceable judicial order.”

Relying on a judicial authority as held by the EQB, the court said that an internment proceeding must proceed against a valid sentence against the person who is allegedly in contempt of court.

It held that if no such valid sentence existed, the court cannot be trusted to hold them in contempt.

“The question in the present case, therefore, is whether the order of my Lord Judge CJ Aneke that was annulled on September 27, is still enforceable to ensure that this court punishes the alleged opponents of the annulled order.

“My answer is that this court cannot; I agree that it is a trivial law that the annulment or annulment of a court order automatically by implication qualifies that order as null or void “ab initio”.

“Without further ado, the motion presented by the participants on October 15 and 18 has merit.

“Consequently, the judicial process initiated against the accused / plaintiff, is here in its entirety, including the issuance of all judicial processes and forms used to initiate the process.

“This is the ruling of the court,” said Allagoa.

Source: NAN

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