5th July, 2012
By Akin Kuponiyi
In a bid to stop infringement of its Trade marks and disturbance of its business Honeywell International Incorporation has renewed its legal battle of N20 billion suit it slammed on a Nigerian company bearing similar name, Honeywell Group.
In an amended statement of claim filed before a federal high court in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on behalf of the plaintiff, Honeywell International and its affiliate Honeywell Automation and Control Solution West Africa Limited, by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Yusuf Asamah Kadiri, the plaintiff averred that it is the originator owner and proprietor of the “HONEYWELL” Trademarks worldwide which were adopted from the name of one of its founders, Mark Honeywell over 106 years ago.
The company averred further that it owns more than 1,000 trademarks registrations worldwide in various countries including Nigeria and to protect their proprietor right over Honeywell trademarks it duly registered the trade mark and other related family of trade marks at the Nigeria Trade marks registry in a well detailed manner. The said trademarks registrations are valid and subsisting on the Nigeria trademarks register till date; therefore the Trademarks are refered to as the “HONEYWELL” family trademarks in Nigeria. The Registrar of Trade marks is also a defendant in this suit.
The plaintiffs also averred that not only have they invested several billions of dollars of foreign direct investment into diverse sectors of the Nigerian Economy, thereby providing employment for Nigerians as well as enormous revenue to the Nigerian government, they have also acquired a reputation and goodwill in Nigeria and worldwide.
However, the plaintiffs alleged that sometime in December, 2011, it was served with a letter from the Registrar of Trademarks accompanied with a petition written by Honeywell Group Limited, claiming to be the sole lawful owner of the “HONEYWELL” trademark in Nigeria and alleged that the plaintiffs are infringing on the said trademark.
The plaintiffs averred that the acts and action of the defendants constitute harassment and disturbance of its business operations and that the defendants have used and continue to use the Honeywell trademark in carrying on its business, and, therefore, contended that the continued use of the Honeywell trademarks and trade name by the defendants in the sectors where the plaintiffs have obtained trademarks registration is unlawful.
Consequently, the plaintiffs contended that Honeywell Group Limited has taken undue, undeserved and unauthorised advantage of the plaintiff’s reputation and good will painstakingly built over 100 years.
In view of the foregoing, the plaintiffs while claiming the sum of N20 billion as damages for the acts of alleged infringement and pass-off to have been committed by the defendants against the plaintiffs, urged the court to restrain the defendants and its agents from harassing and interfering with its lawful business.