*Orders Seizure of Products Using Mercy Johnson’s Photos Illegally

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an exparte order stopping Virony Nigeria Ltd, a leading manufacturer of household items and sanitary wares from using the pictures of ace Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson to promote its wide range of products.

The Court also granted an injunction ordering the seizure and confiscation of all products of the Company bearing the images of Mercy Johnson as well as video and sound recordings of the actress used to promote their products on social media platforms and internet.

Mercy Johnson dragged the company before the court for allegedly infringing on her intellectual property right after the expiration of their two-year brand ambassador and endorsement deal signed in 2020 which expired in October 2022.

Mercy John through her lawyer, Mr Prince I. Nwafuru Esq (Managing Partner at The Law Suite, Lekki Lagos) had sought for exparte injunctive Orders restraining the company and its agents or customers from further infringing on her copyright and image right by continuing to promote their product with her images and audio visual. The Actress also sought and obtained Anton Pillars orders directing the seizure and confiscation of the infringing materials.

Justice Aneke granted all the interim reliefs sought and ordered inter alia as follows:

That an Order of Interim Injunction is made restraining Defendant either by itself, members, officers, agents, servants, distributors, customers, marketers, brand ambassadors, influencers or any other person natural or artificial whomsoever, claiming or acting through the Defendant, from using the image, pictures, audiovisual, video and sound recordings of the Applicant and her kids to produce, manufacture, market, advertise, promote or sell the Defendant’s products pending the hearing and determination of the Applicant’s Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.

“That an Interim Order of Mandatory Injunction is made directing the seizure and confiscation of all the products of the Defendant bearing the images and pictures of the Applicant as well as all video and sound recordings of the Applicant used in advertising, promoting and marketing of the Defendant’s products posted on any social media platforms or internet.

“That an Interim Order of Mandatory Injunction is made directing the Defendant and all platforms hosting the Defendant’s social media pages and accounts to delete on all the Defendant’s social media handles or anywhere else, any material including but not limited to pictures, images and sound and video recordings of the Applicant and her kids used in promoting the Defendant’s products pending the hearing and determination of the Interlocutory Motion on Notice for Injunctions.

“That an Interim Order Is made directing any person selling, marketing or otherwise dealing in the Defendant’s products to remove from their shops, stores, and platforms any of the Defendant’s products bearing the Applicant’s pictures, images and audiovisual recordings pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.

“That an Interim Order of this Honourable Court is made directing the Nigeria Police or any of its Officers or other Officers concerned with the security and enforcement of Orders including the Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Area Commander, Divisional Police Officer and/or other security Officers to provide necessary  protection and accompany the Applicant or her Manager and authorized Agent to seize, detain and preserve the infringing materials bearing the images, pictures, videos and sounds of the Applicant and her kids pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunctions.”

Justice Aneke adjourned the matter to November 10, 2023 for hearing.

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