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Court to hear N510m passing-off suit November 22

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Federal High Court, Lagos

A Federal High Court in Lagos will on November 22 and 24 resume a hearing of a suit by a businesswoman Kehinde Abiodun, seeking N510 million as damages against a bank for alleged passing-off.

Justice Ayokunle Faji fixed the date in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/616/2018 between sole applicant Abiodun and the sole defendant, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

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The plaintiff, in the suit filed by her counsel, Oliver Ilori, averred that she originated and created a business concept called ‘The Shopping Arena (TSA)’.

The TSA is a sales marketing and networking platform, where wholesalers and retailers converge to showcase their products and services at discounted prices to a wider targeted audience in a more friendly and conducive environment.

TSA’s primary aim, she said, is to avail Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) with a physical platform on which to converge and market their brands, products, and services to the public.

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The plaintiff averred that the defendant operates an online marketplace for SMEs known as the SME Market Hub, which is an electronic platform on which SMEs are registered to market and sell their brands, products, and services

She stated that in a bid to grow the TSA brand and gain further publicity, she resolved to partner with the defendant to leverage on the defendant’s multiple publicity channels, including the defendant’s SME Market Hub platform.

Abiodun asserted that she approached the bank with a proposal for a partnership on TSA and it accepted her proposal.

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The claimant alleged that after she was led to share her trade secrets with the bank, it shunned her and held it’s fair using her ideas.

Abiodun averred further that the bank passed off her business concept by using it to organise its food and drink fair.

She prayed the court to award the sum of N510million as damages and cost against the bank for allegedly passing off of her business concept and intellectual work.

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The sum consists of N300million for passing off the plaintiff’s intellectual idea and logistical data for the organisation and hosting of the defendant’s food and drinks fair, general damages of N100million, aggravated damages of N100milion, and cost of N10million.

She is also seeking, among others, a declaration that the plaintiff is the originator and creator of the Shopping Arena Business Concept and that the defendant has passed off her business concept and intellectual.

Others are an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further passing-off, a letter of apology to be published in two national, among others.

But the defendant, in its defence, denied stealing the plaintiff’s idea, adding that the idea is not novel.

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