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“Omotola” Not a Trade Mark, says Lai Omotola

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African Serial entrepreneur and the Group Managing Director of CFL Group, Lai Omotola has reacted to the decision of Nollywood star, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde to adopt the name ‘Omotola’ as a Trade Mark.

In a press statement which was issued on Thursday at the company’s Head Office in Maryland, Lagos, the business icon noted that Jalade-Ekeinde will be running afoul of the trade mark law if she uses the name ‘Omotola’ as a trademark, stressing that the name is a common name and not an invention.

The foremost entrepreneur stated that on getting the wind of what Jalade-Ekeinde has decided to do, he contacted an external solicitor in Abuja who did findings at the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry and found out that Red Hot Concept is her company name and what she just did was to add ‘Omotola’ to it.

In the press release, Lai Omotola said: ‘Omotola’ can’t be registered as a Trade Mark, you cannot register a common name. The purpose of Trade Mark is to register creativity. Omotola Is not an invention.”

The entrepreneur further claimed that the name ‘Omotola’ originated from Ijebu Ode and has been existing for close to 100 years

In his words: The name ‘Omotola’ has been existing since 1924. It is through the name that Omotola Estate came into being and also Omotola Plaza. It is through the same name that the late legal luminary and former Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Jelili Omotola, SAN came out. The name is not an invention, so, using the name as a Trade Mark is illegal and totally impossible. Ministry of Trade and Industry has found out that ‘Omotola’ is not a trade mark.

It will be recalled that the 43-year old Nollywood star on February 18 this year launched the name ‘Omotola’ as her new trade mark with registration number 2018-08-26/NG/TM0/2018/134992 under class 41-Education and Entertainment Services.

Section 5(1) of the Trade Marks Act 1967 provides for the exclusive right of a proprietor to use the trademark in respect of the goods or services it was registered for, and truly, it prohibits the usage of common name as a Trade Mark, most especially the one likely to cause confusion in the minds of the people as Lai Omotola has claimed. The Section 5(2) states that “without prejudice to the generality of the right to use a trademark, the marks shall be deemed to be infringed by any person who not being the proprietor of the trademark, uses a mark identical to it or so nearly resembling it as it is likely to deceive or cause confusion in cause of trade in relation to any goods in respect of which it was registered. The later part in such manner as to render the use of the mark likely to be taken either.