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Fearless Drink: Court rules on NBC’s application in Rite Foods’ contempt suit Dec 1


A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed December 1, 2021, to rule on the application filed by Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and its Managing Director, Matthieu Seguin, in the legal battle involving Fearless Energy Drink.

The NBC and Seguin are asking the court to set aside the contempt suit filed against them by Rite Foods Limited over alleged infringement of Fearless trademark.

The company had sought ex parte orders before Justice Aneke, which restrains NBC from passing off on its energy drink, in a manner that is capable of infringing on its brand.

Following an application filed by NBC challenging the validity of the order, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke discharged it order on September 27, 2021.

At the resumed hearing of the contempt suit before Justice Ambrose Allagoa, Messrs Ngo-Martins Okonma and Oluseye Opasanya, representing NBC and Seguin, urged the court to set aside the committal proceedings as the ex parte order complained of was discharged by Justice Aneke.

Opasanya stated that the reason for the instant suit was not because interim orders were made, but that the second defendant was not even a party to the suit.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) argued that the contempt suit was initiated by the plaintiff for reasons best known to them, adding that he had also brought an application seeking to strike out the suit.

Okonma recalled that he filed an application dated October 15, 2021, and a motion on notice in respect of the application to regularise the application dated November 11.

In his motion, the lawyer asked the court to set aside the committal proceeding in its entirety including all processes used by the plaintiff.

The counsels for NBC and Seguin maintained that since the said order upon which the committal proceedings was already discharged, the court cannot proceed to punish an alleged contemnor on the grounds of a breach.

NBC asserts there has been no trademark violation or passing off with its Predator Energy Drink, insisting that the logo had been in existence prior to the launch of Fearless in Nigeria.

NBC prayed the court to set aside the contempt suit and award punitive costs against Rite Foods if it finds no basis for the contempt proceedings.

After hearing both motions, Justice Allagoa adjourned the ruling for the application till December 1, 2021.

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