Coca Cola vs Pop Cola: Court fixes 22 February, for ruling on interlocutory application
By Abdulgafar Oladimeji
A Kano Federal High court sitting at Gyadi Gyadi has fixed 22nd February for ruling, on an interlocutory application on the case of patent rights filed by Coca Cola international against a local Nigerian beverage brand producer Pop Cola.
The counsel to the plaintiff, Mark Mordi ,SAN addressing the court, on the interlocutory application , last Monday told the court that the issue before it for determination borders on the labeling of the product manufactured by the defendants.
According to counsel , the plaintiff in the matter is not contesting the design of the bottle , rather its legal grouse is about the labeling of the defendant’s product, which in legal thinking should be considered by the court as a mix and should be declared thus .
He further submitted to the court that , Pop Cola has no proper documented evidence to show that it acquired the statutory registered trade mark certification of Pop Cola from the patent regulatory agencies, further adding that the defendants were yet to be formally issued with a trade mark certificate.
The plaintiff also note that, exhibit MBL 2 in the matter, is a missive written to Pop Cola by Nigeria Copyrights Commission, which states that the registration of Pop Cola trade mark is still been proceed, by the commission, adding that the missive could not translate to Pop Cola trade mark ownership.
He averred that all relevant legal authorities will be supplied to the court.
Earlier, counsel to the plaintiff had presented two distinct bottle of beverages to buttress to the court the issue of similarity that is the legal contention between Coca Cola and Pop Cola.
The counsel to the defendants, Offiong Offiong, SAN said Coca Cola could not claim exclusivity to the use of the word “Cola” explaining to the court that the word “Cola “ is generic.
He argued that, Coca Cola is allegedly hiding under the guise of trade mark ownership to claim exclusivity to the use of the word “Cola”.
Offiong further told the court that the issues of similarity is hinged on distinctiveness, adding that a mark must be something distinct, which applies to the brand paraded by Pop Cola as against the claim by the plaintiff.
According to him, Coca Cola has not established its case of claimed legal rights over the exclusivity of the stripe crossing on the duo beverages , which is the issue of contention before the court.
He dismissed , what he described as appropriation of exclusivity to the use of the word “Cola” and ribbon on Pop Cola that is been claimed by the plaintiff.
The presiding judge, Hon Justice Nasiru Yunus declared the matter adjourned to 22 February for ruling , on the interlocutory application.