A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted Western Lotto Ltd an Anton Piller order authorising it to search 23 firms for evidence of violation of its Ghana Games patents infringement.
The Ghana Games are responsible for about 60/70 percent of the revenue generated from lottery games in Nigeria.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke made the order on December 16 pursuant to Western Lotto’s “exclusive rights to use the trade names and trademarks associated with the Ghana games lotto products.”
The Ghana National Lottery Authority (NLA) granted Western Lotto Nigeria Limited the “exclusive rights” in an agreement recently executed by both parties.
The Ghana products include Monday Special Lotto, Lucky Tuesday Lotto, Midweek Lotto, Fortune Lotto, Friday Bonanza Lotto, Saturday National Lotto, VAG Lotto and super six Lotto) both in store and in all promotional activity.
Western Lotto’s right also include “the exclusive right to use the draw numbers of the Ghana National Lottery Authority (NLA) to sell and distribute lotto products and games to customers located in the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The first and second defendants in the suit, mark d FHC/L/CS/2321/19, are the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and Registrar of Trademarks.
The 23 others are: Premier Lotto Ltd,
Secure Electronic Technology Ltd, Richwell Plaza Ltd, Peoles, Empowerment Lottery Ltd, Gab Lotto Ltd, Payday Lotteries Ltd, R & S Lotto Ltd,
Capstar Entertainment International Ltd,
Winners Golden Chance Lotto, EG&H Integrated Concepts Ltd, Global Lottery Ltd, Fortune Games Ltd EMI Systems Ltd, Mobile Lottery Nigeria Ltd and Wesco Pools and Lotteries Ltd.
The rest are: Give and Take Lottery Ltd,
Brentwood Multiservices Global Ltd
International Lottery and Gaming Ltd, Winlot Global Resources Ltd, Lottomania Nigeria Ltd, Derby Lotto Ltd, K.C Lottery Company Ltd and K.C Gaming Networks Ltd.
The order also affects “each and every Point of Sale Station and agency operated by them offering lottery products.”
Justice Aneke also appointed the third to 25th defendants to represent “the class of persons passing off their lotto products by using trade names and trade marks that are associated with the ‘Ghana Games’…and or who illegally sell ‘Ghana Games’ lotto products in Nigeria by using the draw of the numbers of the Ghana NLA to sell and distribute lotto games to customers in Nigeria.”
Responding to the judgment yesterday, Western Lotto’s General Manager, Mr Tajudeen Usman said the company’s exclusive right to the Ghana Games patent was authorised by the Ghanaian Government through the Ghanaian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Usman said Western was the only firm in Nigeria so licensed by the Ghanaian authority.
He noted that for about 20 years many Nigerian companies had been illegally using the Ghana Games trademark.
“But we believe in doing the right thing. So we went to Ghana and obtained a 10-year contract to which gave us the exclusive right to use the Ghana Games patent and trademark…
“Western Lotto has exclusive rights to sell Ghana Games in Nigeria. Draw Numbers cannot be used in Nigeria without Western Lotto’s consent,” Usman said.
He warned other lotto firms that are still using the Ghana Games trademark, that they were violating the law and Western Lotto’s trademark.
Usman invited Lotto firms that wish to continuing using the Ghana Games trademark or numbers, to obtain the permission of Western Lotto, as stated in the international agreement and court order.