A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till December 1, 2021 ruling on the application filed by the Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC, and it’s managing director, Mr Mattieu Seguin, asking the court to set aside the committal proceedings filed against them by Rite Food Limited.
It would be recalled that Rite Foods had on February 9, 2021, through an exparte application marked FHC/L/CS/92/2021, asked the court for an order restraining NBC from further promoting its Predator Energy drink in the Nigerian market and the application was granted by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke .
While the exparte Order was subsisting, NBC was alleged to have refused to comply with the order, consequently, the plaintiff, (Rite Food Limited) had to institute a contempt proceedings against the soft drinks manufacturing giant for the alleged disobedience to court order.
At the resumed hearing of the suit today, counsel for NBC, Mr N.Okonma and that of the NBC’s Managing Director, Mr O. Opasanya ,SAN, urged the court to set aside the committal proceedings, as the exparte order which was the subject matter of the committal proceedings has been lifted.
Okonma and Opasanya, SAN, both argued that since the said order which was the subject matter that led to Form 48 and Form 49 has been lifted, the court cannot punish an alleged contepmnor for the breach of the said order.
They, therefore, urged the court to set aside the motion for contempt and other processes leading to it.
In his own counter affidavit asking the court to dismiss the Contepmnors’ motion to set aside the committal proceedings, Counsel to Rite Food, Mr Muyiwa Ogungbemiro submitted that contrary to the position of counsel to the contepmnors, the court has the power to punish a contempnor for an offence commited during the pendency of an order.
Ogungbemiro added that the order of court complained off was violated during the pendency of the order and this require that l the violator must be punished for such act.
Following arguments by both sides, the trial judge, Justice Lewis Alagoa adjourned ruling on the application till December 1, 2021.
It would be recalled that Rite Food Nigeria Limited had dragged NBC and it’s managing director to court over alledged passing-off of its Predator Energy drink
The claimant said 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.
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.