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Business News

OK Foods Limited is suing Cadbury for N260 million over trademark claims

OK Foods Limited has slammed Cadbury UK Limited (the parent company of Cadbury Nigeria Plc) with a N260 million lawsuit following Cadbury‘s constant claims of trademark violation by the plaintiff.

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Cadbury Nigeria Un-audited Interim Financial Information, OK Foods Limited has sued Cadbury UK Limited

OK Foods Limited has slammed Cadbury UK Limited (the parent company of Cadbury Nigeria Plc) with a N260 million lawsuit following Cadbury‘s constant claims of trademark violation by the plaintiff.

According to the suit, the plaintiff is contesting Cadbury UK Limited’s claim that the generic trade dress, colours, and shapes used in the production of TomTom candy sweet, are also used by OK Food Limited in the production of its own candy sweet – Top Mint

Joining in the suit as co-defendants are the Nigerian subsidiary of Cadbury UK Limited (i.e.,Cadbury Nigeria Plc) and Registrar of Trademarks.

More Details: According to the counsel to OK Food Limited, Peter Shobiye, the company applied for the registration of the trademark Top Mint on April 15, 2005 and was issued the certificate of Trade Mark RTM 73440 by the Registrar of Trademarks. For over thirteen years, the Top Mint brand has existed in Nigeria.

Shobiye also stated that his client (Ok Foods Limited) has, over the years, allegedly been constantly harassed and “threatened” by Cadbury who claim that its trademark has been infringed upon.

The plaintiff went further to contend that Top Mint is not similar nor could it be confused with TomTom, neither could it be deceptively attributable whether orally or visually. Therefore, Cadbury cannot claim sole ownership of the black and white combination in the candy/confectionery industry as the black and white colour was generically used colour combination in the candy/confectionery industry. Many other manufacturers using the two combinations.

The Defence’ Position: Meanwhile, the defence counsel, led by Barrister Phoenix Unuigbe, stated that Cadbury UK Limited was the registered proprietor of the TomTom brand with trademark registration 248430516449327 at the Trademark Registry. He further argued that Cadbury Nigeria Plc had exclusively manufactured and had been associated with the TomTom brand since 1970.

The defendant denied that Top Mint candy was distinctive and not confusingly similar to any other brand of candy in the market. Further, the defendant alleged that it was discovered in September 2018 that the Top Mint candy was being sold in the market with a similar black and white stripes as its Tom Tom strong menthol candy.

The defendants are also urging the court to order the plaintiff to pay them the sum of N5 million as general damages and interest on same from January 2019 at the rate of 21% per annum until the judgement is passed and thereafter, at the rate of 20% per annum. It also wants the plaintiff to pay the sum of N10 million as the cost of defending the suit.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court, Lagos has fixed July 21 for the hearing of the case.

Chidinma holds a degree in Mass communication from Caleb University Lagos and a Masters in view in Public Relations. She strongly believes in self development which has made her volunteer with an NGO on girl child development. She loves writing, reading and travelling. You may contact her via - [email protected]

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    Spotlight Stories

    How to activate the safety feature on your phone in case of an emergency, Kidnap

    The rise in insecurity has called attention to a hitherto ignored security feature on most android devices and iPhones.

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    Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain

    Insecurity continues to be a daunting challenge in Nigeria today. There have been countless news of kidnapping, armed robbery and other criminal activities in several parts of the country. This danger has caused paranoia in many people as it dawns on citizens that government alone cannot effectively guarantee the security of lives and properties.

    The rise in insecurity has called attention to a hitherto ignored security feature on most android devices and iPhones. Indeed, these hand-held gadgets can become lifesavers in emergency situations such as kidnap or other forms of threat to life and safety.

    Android devices and iPhones have emergency features that you can activate in times of needs. You may not have the time to make a phone call or send a message when you are in danger but these features can help you do that by alerting your emergency contacts and sending your location and sometimes, a recording to alert people of your situation.

    Here is how to activate this feature.

    How to activate the SOS safety feature on Android phones in case of an emergency

    • First, navigate to your ‘Settings’
    • Tap ‘Advanced Features’
    • Tap ‘SOS Messages’
    • Tap the switch at the top of the screen; read the information and then tap ‘Continue’
    • Review the required permissions
    • Tap ‘Start’
    • From here, select either ‘Create Contact’ or ‘Select from Contacts’
    • Choose your emergency contact – they will be the ones to receive the SOS alerts. You can also add multiple contacts.
    • Adjust the different settings. For example, you can adjust how many times you need to press the Side key or Power key before an alert is sent. You can also decide if you’d like to attach images or an audio recording to the SOS message.

    Once this setup is completed, you can send emergency SOS messages whenever you are in danger by pressing the Side key or Power key 3 or 4 times rapidly. This will send an SOS message to your designated contact(s).

    Note:

    The phone must have an active SIM card in order to send an SOS alert. When using the SOS feature, your location, photo, and voice recording will be sent the first time a call is made. It will only send updated locations (every 30 minutes for a span of 24 hours) if you have changed your location.

    How to activate the emergency safety feature on iOS phones

    Triggering the Emergency SOS on your iPhone is easy.

    Simply hold down the lock button and one of your volume buttons together for 5 seconds to trigger an SOS call to emergency services. Keep holding it to initiate an automatic call and the phone’s siren.

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    Alternatively, if you’ve enabled an extra feature in your settings, you can use just the screen lock button alone — click it five times in a row to initiate the siren feature.

    Again, you can activate this through Apple’s Health app:

    • Open your iPhone’s Health app and tap your profile picture
    • Select ‘Medical ID’ in the next menu
    • Tap ‘Edit’ and then scroll down to your ‘Emergency Contacts’ section
    • Tap the ‘Add’ button to select a contact, and you can indicate their relationship to you
    • Tap ‘Done’ to save changes

    After initiating the Emergency SOS feature, iPhone will send each listed emergency contact a text message with a current location and a message that you’ve initiated the SOS. Your location services will automatically turn on when this feature is used, and if you are moving, your contacts will get an update about your final destination.

    Why this matters

    There are numerous reasons for people to be extra cautious when stepping out these days. Activating this emergency feature on your phone can help to keep you and your loved ones safe in these times of rising insecurity.

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    GSK in big trouble as losses mount

    The results were less than impressive with several key indicators showing a year-on-year decline.

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    GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc records 3.34% increase in 2020 9M revenues.

    GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc (“GSK Plc” or “the Company”) is a public limited liability company with 46.4% of the shares of the Company held by Setfirst Limited and Smithkline Beecham Limited (both incorporated in the United Kingdom); and 53.6% held by Nigerian shareholders.

    The ultimate parent and controlling party is GlaxoSmithKline Plc, United Kingdom (GSK Plc UK). The parent company controls GSK Plc through Setfirst Limited and Smithkline Beecham Limited.

    The Company recently published its unaudited first quarter (Q1) 2021 consolidated financial statements for the period ended 31 March 2021.

    The results were less than impressive with several key indicators showing a year-on-year decline. For example, Group revenue (turnover) declined from ₦4.99 billion in Q1 2020 to ₦3.46 billion in Q1 2021 a drop of over 30.66%. The revenue drop was due to a sharp decline in the local sale of its healthcare products.

    Total loss after tax as of Q1 2021 was ₦238.07 million compared to a profit after tax of ₦113.47 million for the same period to Q1 2020.

    The company is essentially divided into two segments viz: Consumer Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals. While the Healthcare segment was largely profitable in Q1 2021 (making a profit before tax of ₦ 8.73 million by March 31, 2021, the pharmaceuticals segment made a loss of ₦262.93 million in the same period.

    The Consumer Healthcare segment of the company consists of oral health products, digestive health products, respiratory health products, pain relievers, over the counter medicines, and nutritional healthcare; while the pharmaceutical segment consists of antibacterial medicines, vaccines, and prescription drugs. While goods for the consumer healthcare segment are produced in the country, the pharmaceuticals are all imported.

    The largely imported pharmaceutical products are thus exposed to the vagaries of foreign currency fluctuations coupled with a negligible to no revenue from the foreign sale of its healthcare products (same as in Q1 2020) as it barely exports its products out of the country.

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    The cost of importing the antibacterial, vaccines and prescription drugs, and the significant local operating expenses wiped off the marginal gross profits made by the pharmaceutical segment of the company. In effect, the gross profit of ₦508.12 million made by the pharmaceutical segment of the company was eliminated by an operating expense of ₦735.7 million and this resulted in a net loss for the pharmaceutical segment of the business.

    Apart from the impact of imported pharmaceutical products as already discussed, other issues that affected the company’s Q1 2021 results and are likely to continue to affect its performance in future include:

    1. A limited product mix that has only the likes of Macleans and Sensodyne (Oral Healthcare); Pain relievers (Panadol and Voltaren); Digestive Health (Andrews Liver Salt); and Respiratory Health (Otrivin and Panadol Cold and Catarrh) all within the Consumer Healthcare segment.
    2. Increased competition, particularly from local pharmaceutical manufactures of similar over the counter medicines and other prescription medications and vaccines.

    In addition, in October 2016, GSK Plc divested its drinks bottling and distribution business that manufactures and distributes Lucozade and Ribena in Nigeria, and other assets including the factory used for the drinks business to Suntory Beverage & Food Limited. The loss in revenue from these popular brands continues to impact its topline.

    GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a global healthcare company and is well-known and acknowledged for its pioneering role in discovering and distributing vaccines for the likes of hepatitis A and B, meningitis, tetanus, influenza, rabies, typhoid, chickenpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, cervical cancer and many more.

    It is also renowned for its manufacture and distribution of prescription medicines such as antibiotics and treatments for such ailments as asthma, HIV/AIDS, malaria, depression, migraines, diabetes, heart failure, and digestive disorders.

    Perhaps GSK Plc’s fortunes may change if the company is able to obtain the parent company’s licence to manufacture GSK-owned vaccines and prescription medicines within the country while also exploring the possibility of extending the sale of its products outside the shores of the country.

    Since different expertise is required for vaccines and prescription drug manufacture and distribution as compared to manufacture and sale of consumer healthcare products, perhaps another alternative may be for the company to create two separate companies with one company being a 100% vaccines and prescription drug pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution company while the second company specializes entirely in the manufacture and sale of consumer healthcare products.

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    As a result of the Q1 2021 performance, the company’s earnings per share (EPS) dropped to -20 kobo compared to the 9 kobo earnings per share reported in Q1 2020. At the start of 2021, GSK Plc’s share price was ₦6.90 but the company has since lost over 10% of its price valuation as the company’s share price closed at ₦6.20 on April 30, 2021.

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