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Nigerian National Petroleum Retailer NNPC Sues Competitor NNPG over Alleged Trademark Infrin

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Retail Limited (which is Nigeria’s oil corporation with powers and operational interests in refining petrochemicals products) has instituted legal proceedings against the Natural Network Petroleum and Gas (NNPG) Company Limited over alleged infringement of its trade mark at the Federal High Court Abuja.

The court requested that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and Registrar of Trade Marks, Patent and Designs be joined as 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively as they would be affected by the courts judgement.

NNPC alleged that sometime in 2015, it discovered that NNPG was selling petroleum products in Ondo State under the NNPG mark, which they alleged is confusingly similar to that of their registered trade mark NNPC.

NNPC further alleged that NNPG traded their products under a mark which bore the exact unique combination of colours and emblem similar to that of NNPC in its retail outlets/service stations with the intention to deceive an unsuspecting general public for its commercial benefit,

In its particulars to damage to ‎business and goodwill, NNPC stated that it is widely known for selling at government regulated price and quality, while NNPG has engaged in the habit of selling far above the government regulated price.

NNPC further averred that the volume of its sales in Ondo state for petroleum products was declining and will continue to decline and NNPC will be adversely affected by use and continuous infringement of its trademark.

In bringing the matter before court, NNPC sought 15 Million Naira in damages, a declaration from the court that the NNPG mark is phonetically and alphabetically confusingly similar to the NNPC’s Trademark and an injunction restraining NNPG from selling, offering any service, advertising for sale or promoting in the name and consequently the acronym of NNPG in any of its service outlets.

NNPC further sought an order from the court, directing CAC in terms of Section 31(1) and (4) of the Companies and Allied Matters act, 1990 to remove the NNPG’s name from its record being similar with its registered trademark, NNPC and an order directing the Registrar of Trademarks, Patent and Designs never to accept for registration the word NNPG or any word or colour combination identical or similar to its NNPC registered trademark.

​For more information, please contact Chidimma Igilige

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