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Contempt: NBC Floors Rite Foods at Lagos Court

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Fearless Vs Predator Rite Foods contempt proceedings

By Adedapo Adesanya

A Federal High Court in Lagos has set aside committal proceedings filed by Rite Foods Limited against the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) arising from the trademark infringement tussle between the two parties.

Justice Ambrose Allagoa set aside the suit while delivering a ruling on the various motions filed and argued by the respective parties on Wednesday.

Rite Foods had initiated a contempt proceeding against NBC and its management over issues bordering on alleged infringement on the Lion head trademark of its Fearless energy drink.

The substantive passing-off suit was filed by the plaintiff before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke sometime in March in suit No: FHC/L/CS/92/2021.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had infringed on its trademark with its Predator energy drink by adopting a Lion head similar to the same mark on its Fearless energy drink brand.

The plaintiff claimed that it has been trading with the lion image since 2017 before NBC’s Predator drink came into the market in 2020.

It, therefore, consequently, sought an exparte order before Justice Aneke, restraining the defendants from passing off on its energy drink, in a manner capable of infringing on its brand and the judge consequently dismissed the order.

NBC on its part had filed an appeal, and accordingly, applied for a stay of proceedings before Justice Aneke, in order to await the outcome of the appeal.

Worried by the non-compliance with the interim order of the court, the plaintiff then initiated a contempt suit before Justice Allagoa, seeking committal proceedings against the defendants for alleged disobedience of court orders.

The alleged contemnors on their part also filed motions before Justice Allagoa, seeking an order dismissing the contempt proceedings in its entirety.

They had argued that the committal suit cannot be enforced since the orders of Justice Aneke had already been discharged on September 27.

At the last adjourned date on November 15, the court heard arguments from the respective counsels to the parties, who moved, adopted and argued their motions.

The court consequently reserved the ruling for Wednesday, December 1.

Delivering its ruling the court held: “I have perused the processes filed pursuant to the two applications and argument of counsels, and it is noted that the two motions brought by the first and second contemnors/applicants seek for an order setting aside the committal proceedings in its entirety.

“All parties are in tandem in conceding to the fact that the interim orders of an injunction based on which the plaintiff seeks to commit the defendant for contempt, has been discharged by the court that granted the order.

“That order was discharged by my learned brother, Justice C.J Aneke on the 27th day of Sept. 2021.

“Whereas the plaintiff/respondent argued that this court can punish for contempt for the period of the orders, the defendants/applicants argue otherwise.

“I am in agreement with the principle of law that a committal proceeding by its nature is a legal enforcement mechanism used to mandate the compliance to a validly existing and enforceable order, undertaking or directive of the court.

“The foundation for any committal proceedings is, therefore, a disobedience of a valid, existing, and enforceable order of the court.”

Relying on a judicial authority as held by Justice Tobi JCA, the court said that a committal proceeding must proceed against a valid judgment against the person who is alleged to be in contempt of court.

It held that if there was no such valid judgment, you cannot rely on the court to hold them in contempt.

“The question in the instant case, therefore, is whether the order of my Lord Justice C.J Aneke having been vacated on Sept. 27, is still enforceable to warrant this court to punish the alleged contemnors of the vacated order.

“My answer is that this court cannot; I am in agreement that it is trite law that the discharge or setting aside of an order of court automatically by implication, qualifies such order as a nullity or void ‘ab initio.’

“Without much ado, the motion filed by the alleged contemnors on Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 has merit.

“Consequently, the committal proceedings as initiated by the respondents against the defendant/applicant is hereby set aside in its entirety including the issuance of all court processes and forms used by the plaintiffs in commencing the proceedings.

“This is the ruling of the court,” Allagoa held according to court documents.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Zoho Introduces New Product for SMEs, Gets Office in Lagos

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Zoho executives

By Dipo Olowookere

Global technology company, Zoho, will next month officially open its third African office in the Lekki area of Lagos as part of its efforts to serve its clients in Nigeria better.

Addressing journalists in Lagos on Friday, the President of Zoho for MEA, Mr Hyther Nizam, explained that the decision to bring the company closer to its consumers in the country is because Nigeria is its largest market on the continent.

He noted that the firm will use the opportunity to reduce the unemployment rate in the country as it would hire more employees locally for customer-facing roles, especially in the sales, marketing and other departments.

While speaking on the sidelines of the company’s first user conference in the country tagged Zoholics Nigeria, Mr Nizam further disclosed that Zoho has introduced a new product called Zoho Africa Digital Enabler package tailored for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with about five employees.

According to him, the Zoho Africa Digital Enabler package, which will be available from July 1, 2022, will help small businesses take steps towards digital transformation and it would be offered at a discount of 50 per cent for a period of three months with a collection of 10 leading apps.

He explained that subscribers will have access to standard support available to them, which will allow access to a knowledge base, community forums, a self-service portal, email support and remote assistance. It also includes live chat support and telephonic support during working hours five days a week.

“For small businesses, enterprise technology is prohibitively priced and inaccessible,” said Mr Nizam. “We want to remove the technology adoption barrier and help them kickstart their digital transformation journey, which will in turn help them stay nimble and quickly adapt to changing market conditions.

“The products are available in local pricing, helping businesses avoid cost fluctuations due to changing dollar value, which is beneficial in the current turbulent economy. We hope that Nigerian businesses will avail of this plan and fast-track their growth by leveraging cloud technology.”

Business Post gathered that in the package are Zoho Workplace, Zoho Invoice, and Zoho Begin, among others.

The Zoho Workplace is a unified platform that brings together collaboration, productivity, and communications tools and integrates them into other business processes. It has secure business email (Zoho Mail), team chat (Zoho Cliq), and an online office suite (Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show, and Zoho WorkDrive).

The Zoho Invoice helps users create and send customised invoices, track time, and bill customers accurately. It can also improve their cash flow by automatically sending payment reminders to customers, and getting paid online faster through debit/credit cards and PayPal. Moreover, businesses can record and track expenses by simply scanning their expense receipts. They will also be able to track tax levied on every transaction, allow customers to view their invoices, and projects, and make payments through the self-service portal.

As for the Zoho Bigin, it is a pipeline-centric CRM designed specifically to help MSMEs keep track of their customers and improve customer relationships without having to worry about high costs or complicated features. It can be set up in 30 minutes, with options to create multiple pipelines with customisable stages based on a company’s operation style.

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P+ Measurement Holds 20th EvaluatePR Friday

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20th EvaluatePR

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Friday, June 24, 2022, has been fixed for the 20th edition of the quarterly EvaluatePR hosted by a leading media intelligence agency, P+ Measurement Services.

According to a statement issued by the company, the programme is themed Dissecting the relevance of Measurement and Evaluation in Reputation Management and will take place between 12 pm and 1:30 pm (West African Time).

The resource persons for the 20th EvaluatePR are Abimbola Shukrah Bello, Marketing & Communications, Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Program; Francois Van Dyk, Head of Operations, Ornico Group; and Damilola Sobajo, PR/Marketing Consultant. They will together provide their wealth of knowledge and experiences, insights and answers to the theme of the event.

Evaluate PR is an enlightening, interactive and informative event, featuring communications, public relations, and media monitoring professionals who share their experiences, advice, insights, and quotes on media monitoring measurement and evaluation in a question and answer session.

Participation in the event is free via a Google Meet link, https://meet.google.com/tpq-nsgm-svk.

P+ Measurement is an independent media intelligence and evaluation service provider established by Mr Philip Odiakose.

The firm offers media monitoring, measurement, evaluation, and performance audit services to brands, agencies, and government bodies

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Reps Accuse Makers of Hypo, Harpic of Deceptive Adverts

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Harpic Hypo

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have been asked to appear before the House of Representatives to explain why there are “ineffective” hypo, harpic and others in the Nigerian market.

A lawmaker from Edo State, Mr Sergius Ose-Ogun, while moving a motion on Tuesday, alleged that these cleaning disinfectants were of “poor quality” but hoodwinked Nigerians into buying them through deceptive advertisements as in reality, consumers who bought them were disappointed as they didn’t get value for their money.

While speaking at the lower chamber of the National Assembly, Mr Ose-Ogun expressed concerns  “that  toilet  cleaning  disinfectants  such  as  harpic  and  hypo  used  in  most  households  in  Nigeria are  ineffective, poor quality  and  leave  much to be  desired.”

He further said “despite the poor quality of these toilet cleaning disinfectants, there are several television sponsored advertisements that are misleading unsuspecting members of the public who rely on such adverts product information to make purchases.”

The lawmaker expressed alarm “that most Nigerians utilize these disinfectants in cleaning their homes, offices, hospitals, churches and mosques without getting the value for money spent in purchasing such products.”

Consequently, the House ordered an investigation to be concluded within four weeks, while the Committee on Legislative Compliance was directed to monitor the execution of the resolution.

They, thereafter, invited the Executive Vice-Chairman of FCCPC and the management of SON to “appear before the Committee on Commerce to justify the presence of harpic, hypo and other non-effective cleaning disinfectants in the market or otherwise.”

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