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Coca-Cola, Pop-Cola lock horns in trademark infringement battle

The Coca-Cola Company has sued Mamuda Beverages Nigeria Limited, the manufacturers of Pop-Cola drinks, before a Federal High Court in Kano over allegations of trademark…

The Coca-Cola Company has sued Mamuda Beverages Nigeria Limited, the manufacturers of Pop-Cola drinks, before a Federal High Court in Kano over allegations of trademark infringement.

Pop-cola was launched in June 2021 by Mamuda Beverages Nigeria Limited and it has since become one of the most popular soft drink brands in Kano, one of Nigeria’s top commercial centres.

In an ex-parte motion filed before the court, Coca-Cola is accusing Mamuda of using a ‘Ribbon device’ trademark that is near identical to its ‘dynamic ribbon device’ trademark as well as depicting its Pop-Cola product in a script that mimics and causing the mark to be confusingly similar to Coca-Cola trademark.

The applicant told the court it is the proprietor of the trademarks “Coca-Cola (Script) and Dynamic Ribbon device both in Nigeria and worldwide with Trade Mark Nos: 71808 and 26655.

It, therefore, seeks an order of interim injunction “restraining the defendant, its employees or agents from using, affixing or displaying on any beverage product, vehicle, stationery, advertisement, putting to commercial use in any manner or form for the purpose of commercial benefit or otherwise, the ‘ribbon device’ and the special script in which the ‘Pop-Cola’ has been depicted on its advertising materials that are similar to ‘Coca-Cola (script)’ and ‘Dynamic Ribbon Device’ trademark pending the determination and hearing of the motion on notice.

“The applicant (Coca-Cola) said among the grounds for seeking the interim order was because “billions of consumers all over the world, for more than a decade, have encountered the Coca-Cola (Script)” and “Dynamic Ribbon” device trademarks as well as the COCA-COLA product trade dress in various ways, including on product labels such as beverage cans and bottles, on packaging materials, delivery vehicles, beverage fridges, the exterior of retailers, as well as through extensive marketing and promotional efforts such as sponsorship of global sports events and materials created and published across all mediums including traditional print, television and radio advertisements, and online through its website and social media presence.”

Coca-Cola also said it has invested considerably over the years in the promotion and advertisement of its product through trademarks.

It, therefore, said Mamuda’s use of the trademarks “Ribbon device” and “Pop Cola” in special script amounts to an infringement of Coca-Cola’s right of exclusivity of use of its trademarks.

Meanwhile, the presiding judge, Justice Muhammad Nasir-Yunusa, adjourned the matter to December 11 for a hearing.

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