passing off in law

Passing Off In Law: The subtle thief in business

Fuming and mumbling under her breath, she wore her slippers, and hurriedly snatched her car key from the dining table.

“Useless set of people, deceiving people up and down. Olè gbogbo!”

She turned the doorknob to open, at the same time her husband was coming in too. The books and briefcase he held to his chest all came tumbling down, each flying in a different direction as they collided with each other at the door.

“Sweets, ohhh. I’m sorry! I didn’t know you were coming in.” She apologized and bent to retrieve the books that laid all sprewn across the floor.

“What’s eating you up? You look all riled up!” Mr. Akin, her husband asked, leading her by the hand to the settee.

“Is it not these nonsense people! Imagine, I went to that supermarket at the end of the street to get Greenz Salad Cream, the one I do buy, to add to the veggies I intend to prepare for our guests, only for me to get home, add a dash of the salad cream to the veggies, and everything became a foamy precipitate.”

“But you’ve always used Greenz all the time! What could have gone wrong with them?!” Mr. Akin asked. “Bring the former bottle and the one you just bought, let me have a look at it.”

She went inside and came out with an almost empty jar of Greenz Salad Cream and another full jar.

ALSO READ Lagos & Law: Know when to say NO to demands

He peered at it and calmly said “but this one you just bought is not Greenz Salad Cream. This is “Greens” Salad Cream.” He continued. “You couldn’t point out the difference because it has the same brand color, same container size, same lettering inscription, and same product. The only difference is the letter ‘z’ that has been substituted with ‘s’.

“Aye mi ooo!!! Oko mi, this is pure deception nah! Do they want to spoil the goodwill and positive brand image of Greenz Salad Cream? Wo, Oko mi, You are the lawyer here. What kind of dance step do we give to this song? (Irú Ijó wo là ñ jó sí irú Orin eleyii?”) She finished, flopping on one of the chairs.


  • How do you feel when you buy a trusted product and then realized that it’s an identical brand made to look exactly like what you originally wanted?
  • You may not have been a victim like Mrs. Akin, but one must think that, once the makers of Greenz have established their product in the market with thousands of Naira spent on non-stop radio jingles, screen adverts with sing-along songs that have become popular with the populace, a sponsored advert on Facebook and Instagram, adverts on public buses, they would have secured a presence in the market and begin to reap the fruits of their labor.
  • Sadly, this is not the case as one “Sharp fella” will produce a similar product, but rather than spending thousands of Naira to create his own brand, He/She will seek to coast on another’s success by parading his products as “Greens”
  • This is what is referred to as “PASSING OFF” in Law.

“Passing off” can be defined as the act or instance of falsely representing one’s own product as that of another in an attempt to deceive potential buyers.

  • The most common form of Passing Off in Nigeria includes:
    – Using a name that closely resembles the name of an existing product.
    – Imitating the appearance of the existing product.
    – Producing fake products using the owner’s trademark, copyright.

When this happens, how do you protect your product or ensure that you get the right remedy when such happens? This will be discussed in full, next week.

May Our Head be Always Correct.

With Love,
The Pretty and Petite Lawyer,

Olè gbogbo: An abusive word meaning a bunch of thieves.
Aye mi ooo, okó mi: An exclamatory remark meaning, My husband, see my life!!

5 Replies to “Passing Off In Law: The subtle thief in business”

  1. This was such a read… I was fuming with Mrs Akin too. I am so looking forward to reading about the remedies to ‘passing off’

    1. Thank you very much for the engagement, Omotoyosi.

      Sure, I will continue with the remedies to passing off by next week.

  2. It’s crazy how a tweak such as an alphabet can alter a brand”s credibility.
    I:d like to read how a brand can protect themselves from such subtle impersonation.

    1. Hahahaha. No thanks to the ‘smart fellas’

      I will definitely write about that, next week.

      Thank you for the engagement, Omotoyosi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *