At the cusp of sharing the Style House Files MTN Lagos Fashion Week Event last year with the Ladybrille audience, I received notice of a pending litigation that had been filed in Nigeria’s court on alleged Trademark and Copyright Infringements. Other parties sued included Nigeria Fashion Week and (African Film Festival). For one, I knew a few fellow legal colleagues where at the helm of some of the aforementioned companies and overall conduct their due dilligence with their work ethics and the kind of companies and persons they affiliate their brands with. Nevertheless, as is required with objective reporting and since the lawsuits had been filed, I gave deference and shared with our audience.
Now, there is yet another lawsuit filed against Arise Magazine Fashion Week under an alleged Trademark infringement by the same Plaintiff. The alleged infringement is that of “Lagos Fashion Week”/”Fashion Week Lagos.”
Arise Magazine Fashion Week has a show to run, Joburg Fashion Week is ongoing in South Africa. I’ll return to this lawsuit and others filed by the Plaintiff once the Fashion Weeks across the continent wrap up. Designers and fashion businesses as a whole, there are some poignant lessons to glean from this. I do NOT believe this Plaintiff can make a case for a likelihood of confusion of his brand with the Arise brand or any of the other brands that he has sued.
Please review the Diddy lawsuit I discussed under the “Fashion Law” tab on this site to see the USA “likelihood of confusion test” which is similar to Nigeria’s confusion test:
“Without prejudice to the generality of the right to the use of a trade mark given by such registration as aforesaid, that right shall be deemed to be infringed by any person who, not being the proprietor of the trade mark or a registered user thereof using it by way of he permitted use, uses a mark identical with it or so nearly resembling it as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion, in the course of trade, in relation to any goods in respect of which it is registered, and in such manner as to render the use of the mark likely to be taken either . . .” Nigeria Trademark Law excerpt.
NOTE: Emphasis for me is on Trademark infringement. The headline and documents referenced indicate a “Copyright infringement” but the fight is over use of name. Hence the trademark laws come into play.
1. Kindly be informed that there is a pending law suit at the Federal High Court Abuja against Leaders and Company the publishers of Arise Magazine for copyright infringement on Lagos Fashion Week.
2. Please be informed that on Monday 5th March, 2012, the lawyers for Leaders and Company including the corporate counsel for Thisday newspapers and the lawyers for the copyright commission appeared before the federal high court judge to hear the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction against Arise Magazine and the use and staging of Arise Magazine Fashion Week Lagos.
3. Under the Doctrine of Lis Pendens, Arise Magazine can not hold the 2nd edition of the Fashion Week Lagos slated to commence from 6th March, 2012 if they do then they are in contempt of court and we intend to sanction them and their sponsors and host – Federal Palace Hotel for contempt of court should they defy the court and stage the event.
4. After the Monday, 5th March, 2012 seating of the court at which the defendants regularized their appearances because they had appeared out of time, the judge adjourned the case to 28th March, 2012 to hear arguments on the Preliminary Objections filed by the Defendants.
5. see attached.
Prince Charles Chudi Chukwuani
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Ms. Uduak Oduok is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ladybrille® Magazine. An industry insider with almost two decades of hands on extensive experience in the fashion and entertainment industry, she is also a trial attorney (with 10years experience) and has counseled a range of clients from musicians, models, actors and actresses to designers on numerous areas of the law including contracts, business law, fashion and entertainment law, copyright, trademark i.e. intellectual property law. She can be reached at (firstname.lastname@example.org) to share/pitch your Africa Fashion Law™ related stories with her. All other inquiries, please visit the www.ladybrillemag.com/contact for appropriate contact email.
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