By Onozure Dania

Court fixes Jan 12, to hear NBC’s suit seeking to nullify Rite Foods’ bottle design registration

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till January 12, 2022, to hear the suit filed by the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) seeking to nullify the registration of the bottle design of Rite Foods’ Fearless Energy drink.

In the suit, NBC said that the registration of Fearless Energy’s bottle design was obtained by misrepresentation of facts to the Registrar of Patents and Designs.

NBC said that the statement of Novelty filed by Rite Foods before the Registrar contained significant misrepresentations as Rite Foods had claimed that prior to its application for registration of the bottle design, energy drinks were not packaged in PET bottles in Nigeria.

Rite Foods had also claimed before the Registrar that its bottle design had not been disclosed in any platform before the application for registration.

These claims, according to NBC, are false, given that PET packaging for some energy drinks such as Lucozade Sport and Lucozade Energy drink manufactured in Nigeria by Suntory Beverage and Food Nigeria Limited dates as far back as 2011 long before Rite Foods applied to register the bottle design of its Fearless Energy drink.

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NBC further contended that contrary to the statement of Novelty claims by Rite Foods to the Registrar of Patents and Designs, Rite Foods had long before the application for registration, advertised the bottle design on its website which was accessible to the viewing public.

It submitted that the bottle design of Rite Foods’ Fearless Energy drink lacked novelty and had been disclosed to the public prior to Rite Foods’ application for its registration and therefore the registration of the bottle design was in violation of the Patents and Designs Act.

However, NBC asked the Court for an order declaring certificate number 004183 with Registration number NG/DS/NT2020/1099 null and void ab initio for failure to comply with the provisions of section 13(1) (a) of the Patents and Design Act.

NBC is also praying the court to direct the Registrar of Patents and Designs to nullify and expunge all entries in the Register of Patents and Design relating to the registration of Rite Foods’ Fearless energy drink bottle design.

At the resumed hearing of the case before Justice A.O Faji on Tuesday, the court registrar informed the counsel to NBC that owing to the busy dockets of the court, the Judge had directed that the matter be adjourned to January 12, 2022, for hearing.

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