HARARE – Chicken Slice can continue using the word “luv” in its marketing campaigns after the Supreme Court quashed a High Court judgement which gave rivals, Chicken Inn, exclusive use of the word.
Chicken Inn, through its parent company, Innscor Africa Limited, had challenged its competitor, Slice Distributors, claiming the company’s rights were being infringed by theft of one of the key characters of its trademark.
In its challenge, Innscor Africa had accused Slice Distributors of using the word “luv” in the latter’s Slice and Burger trademark which reads “l luv it”.
Chicken Inn said it came up with the word “luv” when it made its “Luv dat chicken” trademark when it was formed in 1987.
In addition, Chicken Inn said Chicken Slice’s colour scheme resembled its own.
It submitted that the resemblance in the trademarks and colours caused confusion among consumers.
In her ruling, Justice Sylvia-Chirawu Mugomba said Chicken Inn had no exclusive right to the word “luv”, adding that consumers would not be confused by the two products anyway.
“It is clear that the word ‘luv’ appears on the 1st defendant’s ‘burger’ mark and not on the Chicken Slice mark.
“Taking into account the law as enunciated above, it is my considered view that apart from the word ‘luv’, the marks used are not similar.
“In my view, a notional customer who encounters the products of the plaintiff and the 1st defendant is not likely to be confused by the differences between them.”
Justice Mangoma said Chicken Inn failed to prove the trademark infringement claims.
This forced Innscor to file an appeal with the Supreme Court in what has led to the granting of its legal challenge.
The Supreme Court reversed Justice Mugomba’s judgement ordering Chicken Slice to stop using the word with “immediate effect”.
Only the operative part was read in court.
Chicken Inn has been fighting over trademark infringement row with its main competitor for years.
In 2012, Innscor also sued Takesure Mbano for trademark infringement citing his plan to launch Chickenza Inn, Creamy Chickenza and Pizza Chickenza resembled its own.
Chicken Inn has over 200 outlets in the country and throughout Africa. – ZimLine