African intellectual property law, practice and policies. This weblog provides news, information and comment on IP law, practice and business deals right across Africa. Ce blog propose des actualités, informations, et commentaires sur la législation et la pratique en matière de propriété intellectuelle et de droit des contrats d'affaires en Afrique. For some insight into the origins of this blog click here.
This Leo returned from a
corn-and-pear eating vacation to receive news that a hotel operating in Lagos
State, Nigeria (Lagos Airport Hotel Limited) is claiming to have the exclusive
right to be referred to as an “Airport Hotel” and by a Writ of Summons in Suit
No. FHC/L/CS/614/2013 sued the owners of Ibis Lagos Airport Hotel (3Peat
Here are some of the issues raised by
Lagos Airport Hotel Limited:
§That the name “Lagos Airport Hotel Limited” is duly registered with the
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for over 40 years and that the phrase “Lagos
Airport Hotel” or “Airport Hotel” has come to be associated and identified with
§That its Google Search in respect of “Ibis Lagos Airport Hotel” revealed
the “active use” of the name, “Ibis Lagos Airport Hotel” by the Defendant.
§That the two names “Ibis Lagos Airport Hotel” and “Lagos Airport Hotel”
are so similar as to mislead and cause confusion.
Lagos Airport Hotel Limited is asking
the Court to make a declaration that the names “Ibis Lagos Airport Hotel” and
“Lagos Airport Hotel Limited” are so similar as to mislead and confuse the
general public. The plaintiff has also sought a perpetual injunction
restraining the Defendant from using “Ibis Lagos Airport Hotel” or “Ibis Lagos
Airport” as far as it relates to hotel or hospitality businesses. General
damages in the sum of N10million are
claimed for loss of goodwill. The Defendant
is yet to file a defence or react to the Suit.
Lagos Airport is about 0.80km to the Murtala
Mohammed International airport and is a 3-star budget hotel that combines good
food, friendliness and comfort with affordable rates. There is also the Ibis
The Lagos Airport Hotel
was established in 1942 as a subsidiary of O’odua Investment Company and is about
10km to the International airport.
Given that no defence has been filed
in the Suit and more importantly, that the matter is before a competent court, this
Leo will only ask the obvious questions.
What is an
“airport hotel”? Is the use of “airport hotel” descriptive? Is the Lagos Airport
Hotel a 3-star hotel like Ibis Lagos Airport? What do prospective hotel guests consider
before selecting a hotel? Does the “strength” of the Ibis brand (there are over
1,600 Ibis hotels) count in considering whether there is similarity or
likelihood of confusion in the use of “Ibis Lagos Airport” and “Lagos Airport Hotel”?
Since “Lagos Airport Hotel” is not a registered trade mark, can (or should) any
entity have exclusive use of the name?
hotel” has been defined here and here to mean “a hotel built within or attached or located near
an airport terminal, usually offering shuttle service to and from the airport.
Should all hotels within this definition, be entitled to address itself or be
addressed as “……….airport hotel”?
the readers think?
with “Holiday Inn”, see here