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FG bars, prosecutes one of world’s richest companies—STIHL from doing business in Nigeria

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The federal government of Nigeria has barred and is prosecuting one of the richest companies in the world, ANDREAS STIHL AG, from doing business in Nigeria over allegations of fraud and copyright infringement.

Adreas Stihl company and 21 others are accused of ‘intentionally taking the trademark registration of Certification of STIHL belonging to ANDREAS STIHL AG & COMPANY NIG. LTD belonging to High Chief Samson Umejidike Ifediba without authority or right and for the purpose of interfering with the use by the company.’

The case, which is domiciled at the Federal High Court holden at Abuja before Justice I. E. Ekwo, is being prosecuted by the Attorney-General of the Federation pursuant to Sections 104 and 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

The 22 defendants involved in the case include:

  1. Adreas Stihl Ag & Co. Kg
  2. Hans Peter Sthil
  3. Eva Mayr
  4. Bertram Kandziora
  5. Karl Dieter Angler
  6. Wolfgang Zahn
  7. Nikolas Stihl
  8. Kornemann David
  9. Kannan Dinesh Rajangam
  10. Shafiu Adamu Yauri
  11. Ogunbanjo Adeniran Temitope
  12. Sadiq Mohammed Yusufu
  13. Jude Mbaonu Chukwuebuka
  14. Umeaku Felix Ikechukwu
  15. Anthony Onyia
  16. George Rapheal
  17. Amala Umeike
  18. C-Woermann Nigeria Limited
  19. Ecolin Integrated Services Ltd
  20. Texmaco Ventures Nigeria Ltd
  21. Fegmatic Associates Limited
  22. George Rapheal Hardware Ltd

The Particulars of Offence in the eleven count charge are as follows:

That You…

  1. Did carry out business of selling chainsaws and other handheld power equipment including trimmers, blowers, grinders and high-pressure washers without prior incorporation in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
  2. Did conspire amongst yourselves to make and utter false documents to wit: Certificate of Registration in respect of Trade Mark No. 32225 which you presented as genuine knowing it to be false.
  3. Did make a false document to wit: Certificate of Registration in respect of Trade Mark No. 32225 which you presented as genuine knowing it to be false
  4. Did utter a false document to wit: Certificate of Registration in respect of Trade Mark No. 32225 which you presented as genuine knowing it to be false.
  5. Did make a false document to wit: Certificate of Renewal of Registration in respect of Trade Mark No.
  6. Did utter a false document to wit: Certificate of Renewal of Registration in respect of Trade Mark No. 32225 which you presented as genuine knowing it to be false.
  7. Did make a false document to wit: Certificate of Registration of Trade Mark No. 92531 which you presented as genuine knowing it to be false
  8. Did utter a false document to wit: Certificate of Registration of Trade Mark No. 92531 which you presented as genuine knowing it to be false.
  9. Did make a false document to wit: Certificate of Registration of Trade Mark No. 92914 which you presented as genuine knowing it to be false
  10. Did utter a false document to wit: Certificate of Registration of trade Mark No. 92914 which you presented as genuine knowing it to be false.
  11. You intentionally took the trademark registration of Certification of STIHL belonging to ANDREAS STIHL AG & COMPANY NIG. LTD belonging to High Chief Samson Umejidike Ifediba without authority or right and for the purpose of interfering with the use by the company.”

The summary of the case against the defendants reads:

“HANS PETER; EVA MAYR; BERTRAM KANDZIORA; KARL DIETER ANGLER; WOLFGANG ZAHN and NIKOLAS STIHL, all of Badstrasse 115, 71336 Walblingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, while working for ADREAS STIHL AG & CO. KG being a company incorporated in Germany, at various dates for several years and at different locations in Nigeria including Abuja and Lagos, carried out business of selling chainsaws and other handheld power equipment including trimmers, blowers, grinders and high-pressure washers without prior incorporation in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

“The defendants in conspiracy with SHAFIU ADAMU YAURI; OGUNBANJO ADENIRAN TEMITOPE and SADIQ MOHAMMED YUSUFU all of Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Abuja; on or about the 3rd day of August, 2012 at Abuja, intentionally took the trademark registration of Certificate of STIHL belonging to ANDREAS STIHL AG & COMPANY MG. LTD without authority or right and for the purpose of interfering with the use by the company, hence this charge Dated this ./3 day of February 2020.”

The court, therefore, granted the application of the complainant and ordered as follows:

  • An Order is hereby made directing the banks stated in column 4 hereunder to freeze and direct a No Debit Post on the accounts stated in Column 3 belonging to some of the Defendants herein through which proceeds of the crime herein have been siphoned and/or kept, viz: C-WOERMANN, 1010129840 Zenith Bank Lagos, Jude Mbaonu Chukwuebuka, 2176285982 Zenith Bank Lagos, Umeaku Felix _ 0062774041, Diamond Bank, Onitsha, Fegmatic Associate Limited, 1010523125 Zenith Bank Onitsha, George Rapheal Hardware Limited, 1015397578 Zenith Bank, Lagos .
  • An Order is hereby made directing the Central Bank of Nigeria, Zenith Bank, Diamond Bank and any other bank where any account is linked to the Biometric Verification Number (BVN) of the Accounts Stated in prayer 1 to immediately cause, direct and take immediate steps to ensure that all the said accounts are frozen and are marked Post No Debit being part of the chains of account where the proceeds of the offence in this case are either siphoned or kept till the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed in this case.
  • An Order of Interlocutory Injunction is hereby made restraining the Defendants, whether by themselves, representatives, servants, agents, privies, successors-in-title, or anyone howsoever described acting through them from further exportation and importation of STIHL CHAIN products and accessories, into the shores of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which said exportation and importation constitute offences under the Companies and Allied Matters Act and Miscellaneous Offences Act pending the
  • An Order of Interlocutory Injunction is hereby made restraining the Defendants and all traders, dealers, members of a class defined as Persons engaged in the trade or business of manufacturing or selling of STIHL CHAINS, Machines, Tools, Power Equipment and its accessories bearing the trademark STHL which constitute offences and formed the basis of Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/38/2020 from further engaging in such acts pending the conclusion of the trial.
  • An Order of Interlocutory Injunction is hereby made restraining the Defendants and all traders, dealers, members of a class defined as persons engaged in the trade or business of manufacturing or selling of STIHL CHAINS, Machines, Tools, Power Equipment and its accessories bearing the trademark STHL from the continuance of public display in any market in Nigeria, advertising for sale, the sale of STIHL CHAIN or its related products or accessories anywhere in the Nigerian Market which said acts constitute offences and formed the basis of Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/38/2020 pending the conclusion of the trial.
  • An Order is hereby made issuing a Criminal Summons against the Defendants in this case to compel their attendance in Court for the purpose of arraignment and trial in respect of Charge No.FHC/ABJ/CR/38/2020.
  • Leave is hereby granted to the Applicant to affix duplicates of the Criminal Summons on some conspicuous part of the premises or place of work or business or residence of the Defendants.
  • Leave is hereby granted to the Applicant to serve the Charge and Criminal Summons and all other subsequent processes by substituted means on the above named Defendants within/outside the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, in the following manners and addresses by using a registered courier service company.

The court finally summoned the defendant to appear before on March 4, 2020, for trial.

See the attached documents below:

  

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