COURT RESOLVES TRADEMARK SUIT AGAINST THREE COMPANIES
The Vanguard Newspaper reported on June 29, 2007 that a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has held that the trademark of Heinz Africa Trading Company, was infringed by three Nigerian companies, Abicol Nig Ltd, Mickalos Nig Ltd and Rephons Nig Ltd. The presiding judge also granted the plaintiff claim as contained in its writ and statement of claim. The Plaintiff prayed the Court to hold that the defendants’ fake Heinz products, infringed the plaintiff’s trademark and for an order restraining the defendants from continuing to pass off the Plaintiff’s trademark. The matter continues at the Federal High Court.
NAFDAC RE-OPENS ONITSHA DRUG MARKET
Thisday Newspaper reported on June 27th, 2007 that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has reopened the Onitsha Drug Market which was closed on March 16, 2007, following series of raids and discovery of fake and counterfeit drugs by NAFDAC officials. The Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Dora Akunyili while announcing the reopening of the market, stated that an 11-point condition must be satisfied by the traders under the close supervision of the State Government, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. This will be monitored by NAFDAC.
NIGERIAN COPYRIGHT COMMISSION & EFCC UNITE TO COMBAT PIRACY
The partnership between the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to check piracy of copyright works in the music and movie industry has begun to yield fruits.
The Guardian Newspaper reported that operatives of both agencies earlier in the year launched a simultaneous anti-piracy operation on two large-scale replicating plants (Magnet Integrated Ventures Company Limited, Ajah and Akina Music International Company Limited, Ikeja) and impounded products worth about N32 million. The operation was executed in line with the NCC’s multi-sectoral, public-private sector collaborative campaign under the Strategic Action Against Piracy (STRAP).
In accordance with the Copyright Law and powers vested in the NCC by the Replicating Plants Regulations 2006, the Commission has sealed up the premises of Magnet and Akina replicating plants pending the conclusion of on-going post-raid investigations.
UPDATE ON GUINESS NIGERIA PLC AND NAFDAC’S FIGHT OVER ADULTERATED PRODUCT
Guinness Nigeria Plc in collaboration with NAFDAC has since resolved the problem created by the adulteration of Guinness Extra Stout in Maraba (a ghetto settlement on the outskirts of Abuja). NAFDAC had earlier in the year uncovered the hideout where the products where being adulterated by certain persons.
KANO STATE GOVERNMENT SUES PFIZER
The Vanguard Newspaper reported on 27th July, 2007 that the Kano State Government filed charges against Pfizer seeking $6.95 billion in damages for the drug maker’s alleged role in the deaths of children who received an unapproved drug during a meningitis epidemic. The ground for the suit was that Pfizer did not obtain approval from the relevant authorities when it tested the antibiotic Trovan in Kano State in 1996.
Responding to the allegation, Pfizer stated that it intervened in the 1996 meningitis epidemic in Nigeria by setting up and conducting the investigative Trovan study at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Kano and made donations over N18 million to Kano State in medicine. Kano state acknowledged the donations in writing. According to Pfizer, approval letters were obtained from NAFDAC on March 20th, 1996 and also from Kano State Ministry of Health.
The Federal Government however discontinued the suit on grounds that the case lacked merit with cost of N10, 000.00 awarded in favour of Pfizer.
NIGERIAN CUSTOMS SERVICE ARREST TWO VEHICLES WITH CONTRABAND
The Daily Trust Newspaper reported on Tuesday 25th September, 2007, that the Nigerian Custom Service through its Federal Operations Unit (FOU) arrested two vehicles allegedly containing imported food items. According to the Comptroller of the FOU, the two vehicles were found to be carrying large quantities of illegally imported margarine, vegetable oil, foreign biscuits etc and the products were without NAFDAC numbers.
NAFDAC ARREST 30 PERSONS OVER FAKE PROCUTS
NAFDAC has arrested no fewer than 30 persons engaged in illegal production, distribution and sale of fake, unregistered and unwholesome packaged water, fruit juices, cosmetics and other regulated products. The Guardian Newspaper reported on 9th September, 2007 the arrest resulted in the closure of about 15 illegal production outfits in the state.
NIGERIA TRADEMARKS REGISTRY
Officers of the trademarks registry have commenced a three (3) day retreat to discuss the smooth running of the registry affairs amongst others. The registry has also concluded preparations for publication of a new Trademarks Journal which will be out shortly.
REPORT FROM THE ANTI-COUNTERFEITING COALITION (ACC) MEETING
The Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition Nigeria held its monthly meetings on 19th September, 2007. The meeting reached an agreement on payment of Annual and Subscription fees, a Committee is to be set up to oversee the affairs of the association. Appointment of members of the committee will take place at the next meeting which is scheduled for Wednesday, 24th October, 2007.