Some court officials stormed the Headquarters of Bet9ja at Surulere, Lagos, on Thursday, over a suit filed by a competitor, Lotto9ja Limited, a subsidiary of Western Lotto Nigeria Limited.
The raid followed an Anton Piller injunction – an order which gave the applicant the right to search the premises and seize evidence for a ruling without warning.
Reason for the order: According to a report, Bet9ja was suspected of infringing on the trademark of Lotto9ja Limited which was recovered at their premises during the search.
The applicants in the suits were Western Lotto Nig. Ltd and Lotto9ja Ltd. The respondents were Registrar of Trademarks, K.C. Gaming Networks Ltd (owners of Bet9ja) and K.C. Lottery Company Ltd.
According to the applicants, Western Lotto had launched the Lotto9ja Company in July and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Office of Trademark at the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, only to discover that K.C. Gaming Networks Ltd was also planning to use the same name that is registered with the CAC.
Western Lotto also said that it warned K .C. Gaming Networks to desist, through its lawyers, but the company allegedly continued to brand its POS terminals, T-shirts and other souvenirs with the Lotto9ja trademark.
The Judge, Justice Taiwo ordered a sheriff to search all sales and storage outlets owned by Bet9ja and take possession of all products, equipment, and products branded or sold in the name or brand of Lotto9ja pending the outcome of the final ruling.
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Judge Taiwo also restrained the Registrar of Trademarks from approving any application containing Lotto9ja’s brand until the final hearing fixed for August 22.
Looming crisis: If found guilty of violating the trademark policy, Bet9ja could risk either changing its trademark. This will result in the rebranding of Bet9ja and in turn, could cost extra money and resources.
More so, monetary damages or fines can be placed on the company and in worst-case scenarios, it may have to seize doing business.