November 20, 2016 –A Judge in Rwanda has dismissed a suit filed by South Africa’s Innscor International Ltd. at Nyarugenge commercial court. According to Innscor, the two Rwandan restaurants (Pizza Inn Ltd. and Chicken Inn Ltd.), which serve foreign dishes at Kigali City Tower were illegally using its trademarks in ‘Chicken Inn’ and ‘Pizza Inn’.
Innscor was seeking an order of court restraining the two Rwandan businesses from operating under the Chicken Inn’ and ‘Pizza Inn’ brands, arguing that apart from the financial benefit they are gaining from infringing their marks, the companies were misleading customers who expect that their services are connected to Innscor’s brands.
In its defence, Pizza Inn Ltd. and Chicken Inn Ltd. argued that their businesses were registered on October 11, 2013 with the Rwanda Development Board and they were not infringing the trademark rights of any other business. According to them, Innscor came into Rwanda a year later and registered some elements of their names as trademarks.
The commercial court found that the case has no legal ground in Rwanda and awarded damages in favor of the two local companies.
“Court will not proceed with the case filed by Innscor International because it has no ground, as the company has no legal status here, according to the law governing registered entities in Rwanda”, the ruling read.
Although Innscor as a foreign company had deposited an amount as security for filing the case, the court overruled the reimbursement of Rwf50,000 on grounds that the money should be retained as payment for court fees.