Trader pushes for payment in Absa name row


The lender is currently rebranding to trade as Absa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A Kenyan businessman seeking a permanent injunction against Barclays Bank of Kenya #ticker:BBK over the use of the name Absa also wants to be paid damages by the lender for infringing on his trademark.

The lender is currently rebranding to trade as Absa, the name of its South Africa-based parent company, Absa Group.

In submissions filed before the High Court on December 10, 2019, Edward Njuguna says he is entitled to profits made by the bank since 2012 when it started claiming to own the trademark.

Mr Njuguna says that he has been in business since 2005 when he registered the company Absolute Sanitation (ABSA) but the bank has repeatedly violated his trade mark over the years.

He argues that he incorporated Absa Kenya in 2005 and reserved the name with the Registrar of Trademarks for exclusive use and thereafter patented the name.

The businessman said despite investing every effort and resources to protect his trademark, the bank has on the other hand employed methods aimed at “starving his company and run it out of town”.

The bank on the other hand has maintained that it has made extensive use of the ABSA trademark worldwide in relation to banking and financial services.

In its defence, Barclays argues that there is no conflict on the use of the name since the two firms obtained exclusive use in different categories.

The lender added that there are at least 12 other companies that have incorporated the word Absa in their corporate names, arguing that the Kenyan firm should not ask for exclusive use of the trademark.

However, Mr Njuguna insists that he is entitled to the exclusive use of the trademark and further argues that his firm has incurred huge losses arising from confusion caused by the alleged infringement by the lender.

“The use of the name ABSA by the defendant only dates to 2016, more than 10 years after I started trading in the name and indeed registered a website in 2005,” he says.

The court will give its direction on the matter later this year.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated to include the date of submissions and court directions.