High Court Civil Division Musa Ssekaana has settled the misunderstanding which has been existing between A Plus funeral Management Limited and A Class funeral services Uganda resulting from names.
In this case, A Plus Funeral Management Limited dragged to court A Class funeral Company accusing it of using the same business name as theirs which is causing confusion amaong their customers.
A Plus also accused Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) of wrongfully and illegally registering the name same to theirs in 2020 yet they had registered the same in 2003.
These contended that in the last 17 years they conducted business with good reputation , good will which A Class intends to benefit from by registering a similar name.
“The plaintiff seems to agree that the names two names are not similar on the face of it when read as registered but they are only contending that the defendant’s company name has a sinilar phonetic sound. Therefore, this
will likely cause confusion to the public since they are in the same industry of funeral service or burying dead persons.This court does not agree that the similar phonetic sound is likely to cause confusion to the public in the funeral service industry.” ruled Ssekaana
Court noted that the customer in the nature of business is generally attentive, discerning, well-informed and they know what they need wherever it comes to procurement of such services.
“The two trade names of the plaintiff and 1st defendant as shown earlier are distinct and the plaintiff’s submission that they similar phonetic sound has been found baseless.”
Whether customers believed that A Class is a branch of A Plus Funeral Management, Court ruled that there was no evidence which was produced to prove that at any funeral , mourners got confused and procured A class knowing that they had hired the plaintif Company.
“It may also be true that the 1st defendant is struggling in the business and has not even had any breakthrough in the business with the said name.”
In conclusion,Court ruled that the First defendant’s name (A Class) is not confusingly similar to that of the plaintiff (A Plus) and the same does not constitute passing off of the plaintiff’s name, therefore the suit was dismissed with no order as to costs as between the plaintiff and 1st defendant.
However URSB was awarded half of the costs of the suit