Strange Verdict in Trademark Dispute

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A ruling that may have a dramatic effect on trademark disputes in the country was on Friday challenged and subsequently taken to the Supreme Court by BAF Trading Corporation.

The half page ruling was headed down by Judge Chan-chan Peagar of the Commercial Court, at the Temple of Justice.

Though Judge Paegar kept the ruling for over four months, on Friday he promised to give the full text of his decision on Wednesday, August 10.

BAF legal team in 2014 filed a complaint before the court against the Ministry of Commence, Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) and H.K. Enterprise, a Lebanese owned entity, arguing that both MOC and LIPO connived and issued its ten year trademark for the importation of pop drink on the market to H.K. Enterprise.

The trademark, BAF claimed, was obtained from LIPO in 2010, which said document was also issued in 2014 to H.K. Enterprise by LIPO and MOC without BAF’s ten year agreement’s expiration.

It was that ruling Judge Paegar wrote with pen on a half-page document and used less than three minutes to deliver on Friday.

In his ruling, Judge Paegar said the parties violated their registration process with the LIPO to obtain the trademark, though he did not explain the trademark law BAF and H.K. Enterprise failed to follow.

Judge Paegar said he also found out that none of the parties was issued the right manufacturer of the pop drink product for which the trademark was registered.

Though the LIPO admitted that the parties obtained the trademark legally from its office, Judge Paegar’s ruling did not take that admission into consideration.

“Based on the record before the court, H.K. Enterprise currently maintained a distribution contract with the manufacturer and the agent of trademark,” he said.

He did not again name the manufacturer and agent of the pop drink product in his short ruling.

Judge Paegar said the parties only have distribution rights and did not have to register for any trademark with LIPO and the MOC.

“H.K. Enterprise has the right to import and distribute the pop drink product throughout the country,” the Commercial Court judge added.

Immediately, after the inexplicably brief ruling, BAF’s lawyers rejected it and announced an appeal, arguing they would be interested for the Full Bench of the Supreme Court to hear it.

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