Daily Times threatens to sue PREMIUM TIMES over brand name

Folio Communications Limited, owners of Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, have threatened legal action against PREMIUM TIMES over the newspaper’s use of “TIMES” in its brand.

In a letter to the Managing Director/Editor in-Chief of PREMIUM TIMES, Dapo Olorunyomi, the solicitors to Folio Communications Limited, Elias Mordi & Co, cautioned the newspaper to desist from using the word “TIMES” in its brand name.

The threat came days after Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke, obtained a court order restraining PREMIUM TIMES and 10 other individuals and organisations from reporting on the missing $20 million oil money.

Daily Times of Nigeria Plc is one of Nigeria’s oldest newspapers, incorporated on June 6, 1925 as Nigerian Printing & Publishing Company Limited.

The company, however, started publishing in Lagos, South-West Nigeria on June 1, 1926.

In the early 30s, it became a popular voice of the nationalist movement and was later bought over by the Daily Mirror Group of London in 1947.

During the 70s and ’80s, the paper became one of the most successful locally-owned businesses in Africa, but its fortunes started dwindling after the Nigerian government repurchased the firm in 1975.

The government later sold the company to Folio Communication Ltd on March 14, 2007, in a controversial process that was challenged in Court by D.S.V Limited, one of DTN’s shareholders which complained of “gross and illegal sale of company’s assets”.

However, on January 29, 2010, a Federal High Court in Lagos, nullified the acquisition of majority shares of DTN by Folio Communications Limited, and declared the action null, void and of no effect.

The trial judge, Okechukwu Okeke, had held that Folio Communications did not pay for the majority shares of DTN and that it was unlawful for the company to parade itself as a shareholder of DTN.

It also faulted the sale by Folio Communications Ltd, the assets of DTN to settle part of the loan secured Mr. Anosike.

One of the prized properties of the government-owned publishing firm that was sold by Mr. Anosike was a palatial building situated at Cold Harbour Lane in London, United Kingdom.

The court noted that it was worrisome that Folio Communications took a loan to pay for the shares of DTN and held that D.S.V Limited’s case had merit and therefore, granted the relieves sought.

While the case was being heard, the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, stormed the premises of the court in protest, accusing Mr. Anosike of lacking the capacity to run the company, and being only interested in its assets.

Folio Communications Limited appealed the judgment and in March 2013, after which the Court of Appeal ordered the retrial of the case.

Apart from the court action, the Anosike brothers were also tried by the Nigerian government for illegally selling Daily Times’ asset, and fraudulently receiving money from government agencies.

In its notice to PREMIUM TIMES, Folio Communications Ltd claimed that it is improper for the newspaper to use the word “TIMES” as a registered brand.

“Our client is the publisher of the Daily Times, Weekend Times, Sunday Times and Business Times amongst other newspapers and special publications,” Uche Amulu, a representative of Elias Mordi & Co wrote.

The legal firm said his client’s brand dominated the newspaper landscape not only in Nigeria but also across West Africa.

“In Nigeria, the word ‘Times’ when associated with any newspaper publication has come to have a secondary meaning as denoting our client’s publication by the reading public, and that is the extent of the goodwill our client enjoys in the word ‘Times’ as a matter of trade name,” a part of the notice reads.

“Your publication, ‘PREMIUM TIMES’ has a tendency of appropriating our client’s extant goodwill as already explained above and constitute actionable passing off. We, therefore, demand that you forthwith cease and desist from using the ‘TIMES’ in your future publications.”

The legal firm threatened that failure to adhere and comply with the demands of its client may result in a legal action.

PREMIUM TIMES newspaper was registered under relevant Nigerian laws in 2011 by Premium Times Services Limited, with a vision to among other things, strengthen Nigeria’s democracy, advance the socio-economic wellbeing and rights of the people, promote and enrich their cultural practices.

It also advocates for best practices, good governance, transparency and human rights, in line with the values expected of a modern democratic state.

PREMIUM TIMES’ Managing Editor, Musikilu Mojeed, said the matter has been referred to the company’s legal team.

Mr. Mojeed declined to make further comments on the issue, saying he was too busy “to respond to ludicrous claims by a party that might be fighting a proxy battle”.


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  • Frank Bassey

    This appears laughable. Is Daily Times just waking up from sleep? I have never seen Daily Times as a serious medium. Will they also sue Jimoh Ibrahim for floating Newswatch Times?

    • Bambam

      I think they have a case..but as usual the Ibo boys the Anosike brothers who bought Daily Times to strip it of all its assets and defraud the country..must have collected money from JonaTAN and their evil crew to bring up this case against Premium Times..otherwise you wonder why now..and they just waking up from sleep like you said?

      • Dòmïerø

        Babam why speak like an illiterate? Why bring in Jonathan and Igbo’s here? Tribalism is disturbing you. Stop dis your “argumentum ad hominem” pls.

        • Bambam

          Tribalism isn’t disturbing me..until when and all Nigerians can understand the role of the Ibos within Nigeria..it would be difficult to trust them..they act in everything like a group of people who have a grievance against Nigeria..and do not care about the country..I know Ibos well enough and understand their psychology..and all I’m saying to them is to embrace Nigeria and give it a good go..if the country breaks everyone knows the Ibos at least have some boundaries to start from as their own country..but when they keep holding on to this siege mentality of Biafra..then they do more damage to themselves and to the country as a whole..enough said!!

  • City Law Offices

    A SLIPPERY SLOPE

    In Nigerian jurisprudence, the tort of ‘pass off’ is unclear and arbitrary.
    A clear-cut legal opinion is feasibly hard to form ahead on it by a Solicitor.
    Nigerian Judges don’t reason the law properly, and so past court verdicts
    can’t control a present or future case.

  • Denis_NG

    This is a battle that Premium Times can win. The “Times” in Premium or Daily in itself is not a registered trademark and is meaningless without the prefix “Daily”, “Premium”, “The Moscow”, “London”, etc. This frivolous suit oozes nothing but a putrid political smell and they should expect a good smacking!

  • One Nigeria

    This peeps should also get ready to also sue New York Times and Financial Times, for using Times; Daily Trust and Daily Mail for using Daily, and many others.. Oloshi I believe one of the many plans of the present administration is out to cripple the activities of premium times before this election

  • Maitama Tambari

    Weird. Which ‘Daily Times’? The dead Daily Times of yesterday or a new Daily Times. Times is genetic English word very common with newspapers all over the world, New York Time, Los Angeles Times, Michigan Times, London Times, Moscow Times you name it. I hope this is not link with that woman who is also trying to sue the Premium Times on $20 billion NNPC missing funds?

  • Olugbenga

    Surely, this cannot sell. The word ‘Times’ in respect of newspaper is a word commonly used in the trade. As a result, no court will allow a particular section of the trade or a particular proprietor to enjoy monopoly in respect of the word. There are New York Times, London Times, etc. Similar scenario played out between Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola some years back and the court had no problem in coming to the conclusion that the word ‘cola’ is a common expression within this particular trade. So, Mr Muskilu Mojeed, don’t bother your head. Let them bring their frivolous suit but make sure you claim millions of dollars as damages for wasting your time and the precious time of the court.

  • Karim

    This is a sign that premium Times is doing something good. It can not be said that they are just hearing premium Times.

  • Walter

    dem for sue New York Times self and Times News

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  • Isi Agwo

    There is no similarity between Daily Times and Propaganda Times. While D. Times was/is a newspaper of repute, P. Times is a propaganda medium for Thiefnubu and the Muslim Brotherhood of Nigeria (APC), both known for their disrepute.

    • Mosaku 147

      Thank you. Anything else you like to add? Some mum’s sure do have your type. o’ma se ooo.

  • GideonOrkarII

    Daily Times people must be high on kunu

    • Wähala

      They’re broke… they need money for kunu.

      • Oweja

        Perfect summation!

  • andy

    ok na you invent the word times for dictionary ko? your brand is daily times, theirs is premium times and i fit kuku register my owm morning times secret times etc. if you can stand the heat please leave the kitchen

  • Onike24

    This country is a Peculiar mess! Can you imagine? People that should be imprisoned for asset striping are suing, because the word ” times” allegedly belongs to them? as a registered name? Why stop at Premium times? New York times, financial times, koda “The Times” itself in the uk, since daily times was once owned by the Mirror group! These people are just hardened criminals.

  • dubya

    The Anosike brothers are nothing more than crooks and scam artists, they specialize in ripping people and companies off, collecting advance payments and abandoning contracts and obligations. The Chairman Fidelis Anosike have never to my knowledge owed his staff anything less than 6 months arrears of salary at any given time. His business philosophy is buy, gut and sell,never produce. The way they obtained Daily Times was very dubious and since then they have been trying to sell off the assets of the company as fast as they can. They have just revived the Daily Times and it is already teetering with minimal distribution network, and staff levels.

  • dudu

    I think they are crazy and silly. Why did they not go for Jimoh Ibrahim’s “Newswatch Times”?

  • Sanmi Falae

    Right now, Career Criminal Saraki is the biggest threat to Nigeria’s existence. You never thought anyone with human brain and feeling would sabotage construction of Lagos-Ibadan express road. People die or are maimed on that road every week. But then we know Saraki is an animal.

  • KAL

    We are screwed up as a people when the likes of Saraki and his 103 thieves are in the driver seat of our development and existence as a people. It is not only Fashola’s ministry they creamed off but other ministers aren’t as bold to come voice out. Can the court help our situation? I will consult google and Sango and revert to you.

  • Isaac Azor

    These bunch of thieves are on the verge of completely taking over responsibilities of the executive by choosing projects to be executed, voting funds for such projects, executing the projects, supervising their execution and certifying the projects. All in the name of ‘constituency projects’ which are never ever functional in the history of Nigeria.