Cadbury, OK Foods battle in court over trademark rights

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Fast moving Consumer goods (FMCG) giants, OK Foods Limited and Cadbury UK Limited have gone to court to decide who has the rights to a trademark.

OK Foods Limited, a unit of Olam Foods International and makers of a wide range of confectionary products including Top Mint Candy sweet has filed a N260 million suit in a Lagos court against Cadbury UK Limited, owners of TomTom Candy sweets over threats emanating from the use of generic trade dresses, colours and shapes in the production of Top Mint Candy sweet.

Joined as co-defendants in the legal tussle are Cadbury Nigeria Plc as well as the Nigerian Registrar of Trade Marks.

According to the claim filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos by Peter Shobiye, Attorney for the plaintiff OK Foods, it alleges that the plaintiff applied for the registration of the trademark Top Mint on the 15th of April 2005 and was issued the certificate of Trade Mark RTM 73440 by the Registrar of Trademark. And for over 13 years, Top Mint had been a popular brand with Nigerian consumers and it is strongly associated with menthols flavoured candy.

The label and trade dress was also approved and registered by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

However the plaintiff claim that it has been consistently harassed, threatened and intimidated by Cadbury UK Limited through a series of letters alleging that its Top Mint shape, design, and colours are confusingly similar and infringing on its TomTom and demanded that it should immediately cease further manufacturing, promotion, marketing and offering for sale of its Top Mint menthol flavoured candy, alleging that has the same identity and confusing similarity with TomTom.

The plaintiff contended that Top Mint is not similar nor can it Read More...