N10m trademark judgment debt: Appeal Court strikes out Facebook’s appeal

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Federal High Court, Lagos

By Innocent Anaba

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, Tuesday, dismissed Facebook’s appeal challenging the judgment of a Federal High Court, Lagos, which awarded N10 million against it (Facebook) in favour of a Nigerian firm, Double Paws Enterprise, as damages for unlawfully interfering with the use of the firm’s trademark.

The appellate court justices that decided the matter were Justices Haruna Tsammani, Oluwayemisi Williams-Dawodu, and Abdullahi Bayero.

Justice Bayero, who read the lead judgment.

Facebook had appealed the lower court judgment through its counsel, Jackson Etti. However, counsel to the respondent, Double Paws Enterprise, was Mr Gideon Okebu.

Facebook challenged the competence of the appeal and urged the Appeal Court to dismiss the same for being fundamentally flawed.

Justice Bayero in the lead judgment, Tuesday, upheld the arguments of Okebu, counsel to the respondent, and struck out the appeal.

It will be recalled that Justice Ayokunle Faji of the lower court had in March last year, in his judgment, also ordered a perpetual injunction restraining the social media firm from interfering with the plaintiff’s statutory rights under the Trademark Act.

The Nigerian company had sometime in July 2017,  instituted the case marked FHC/L/CS/1164/2017 against the defendants through its counsel, Gideon Okebu.

In the suit, the plaintiff had prayed the court to determine the following: “Whether having regard to the unchallenged registration of Pawsbook. Com & Device as a class 41 trademark, under Trademark Act Cap T13 LFN, it has the right to use the trademark in doing business.

“Whether the defendants being international companies that are proprietors of a trademark, Facebook, registered under the laws of Nigeria, under Trademark Act Cap T13 LFN can seek to render nugatory and abrogate another registered trademark, registered under Nigerian law, through self-help and without recourse and in complete disdain for the provisions of Section 6 and 36 (1) CFRN 1999 (as amended) and Section 20, 21, 39, and 54 of the Trademark Act.

The lower court resolved all the issues raised by Double Paws Enterprise in its favour, which appeal the appellate court struck out, Tuesday.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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