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eNaira: Firm Sues CBN Over Trademark Infringement

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had announced that it will launch the pilot scheme of its digital currency (eNaira) by October 1, 2021, and on Monday, the apex bank floated a website -www.enaira.com. According to the details on the website, the eNaira would aid cash distribution in the government’s social welfare programmes.

However a firm has set up litigation against the government and through its lawyers, accused the CBN of trademark infringement.

This is according to a document issued by Olakunle Agbebi & Co, solicitors to ENAIRA Payment Solutions Limited, notifying the CBN to desist from using the proposed name. According to the document, the Firm “ENAIRA PAYMENT SOLUTIONS LIMITED” with (RC 508500) which was incorporated on the 7th of April, 2004, already operate a digital currency called the Enaira and remains a valid and existing legal entity “having complied with the statutory requirements as regards the filing of its annual returns and the payment of company income tax,” the document read.

“Our client is the holder of the Trademark “ENaira” registered in Class 36 and Class 42. It has come to our client’s notice that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the planning launching of a financial under what it termed its Central Bank Digital Currency to be known as “eNaira”.

“This action amounts to a threat to willfully infringe on our client’s Trademark. It will also amount to a violation of its corporate name i.e. ENaira Payment Solutions Ltd. The ramifications of this illegal act of the CBN are extensive.

“Importantly, the potential this has to deceive the general public into believing that this product emanated from our client’s company is real and the consequences for our client are grave. The potential to expose our client to all manner of damage, loss of business and loss of goodwill is also very real.

“For this reason, our client has approached the federal high court in suit No. FHC/AB/CS/113/2021 between ENaira Rayment Solutions Limited v Central Bank of Nigeria to seek restraining orders, including an order to restrain the CBN from proceeding with the proposed launching on the 1st of October 2021.

“The CBN is hereby put on notice of the pendency of this suit and advised not to resort to self-help or present the honourable court with a fait accompli by proceeding with the proposed launching pending the hearing and determination of this suit.

“In the interim, the CBN is hereby warned to cease and desist from using or purporting to use the name “eNaira” for its product or in any way, form or manner infringing or threatening to infringe on our client’s Trademark or violating our client’s corporate name.”

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