Kenafric wins reprieve in matches row


Kenafric senior executive director Mayur Shah. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The Court of Appeal has lifted an order directing a matchbox maker to cease production of matches bearing Big 5 marks, which is claimed by a rival company.

A bench of three judges said they were convinced that the appeal by Kenafric Matches was arguable, especially after the company said it was set to lose about Sh378 million in four months if the order was not lifted.

Kenafric Matches is fighting over matches bearing the marks Big Five and Big 5, with rival company Match Masters.

Match Masters moved to the commercial court last year, seeking to restrain Kenafric from selling what it termed as counterfeit safety matches trading under the two marks.

After hearing the case, Justice Francis Tuiyott — now Court of Appeal judge — granted match Masters temporary injunction restraining Kenafric from selling and marketing its products using the two marks, pending the determination of the case.

The judge also directed Match Masters to deposit Sh10 million in court, which will act as damages should Kenafric’s appeal succeed. Kenafric then moved to the appellate court, saying Sh10 million would not be sufficient to compensate the firm as it was bound to lose hugely.

“The applicant would also suffer substantial losses that cannot be compensated by way of damages including breach of trust with its stakeholders and suppliers and loss of livelihoods for its employees who may lose their jobs,” said Justices Daniel Musinga, Roselyn Nambuye and Jamila Mohammed.

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