Rudland hammered again

HARARE - Controversial businessman Simon Rudland has lost his bid to continue selling his Rudland & George (RG) cigarette brand in Zimbabwe after the High Court upheld its previous order barring the distribution of the product.

In a follow up to its September 2 provisional ruling that Livera Trading (Livera) must hand over all promotional material for the disputed brand as it had sharp similarities with Tonridge Assets Limited (Tornridge)’s Remington Gold, Justice Hlekani Mwayera said yesterday the “noting of the appeal… in respect of the order under 517-16 shall not suspend the operation of the interim order”.

“Any appeal... against this order can only be made with the prior leave of this honourable court,” he said yesterday, adding Rudland, Livera (the first respondent) and his daughter Sarah Rudland must bear the costs of the suit.

The development not only comes as Tonbridge — through its lawyer Addington Chinake — had rushed back to the High Court to seek protection in the epic copyright infringement case, but it is understood that RG is one of those cigarette brands under watch by revenue authorities in South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

In an earlier ruling, Justice November Mtshiya had  “interdicted Livera from infringing… the artistic work of the applicants’ packaging for Remington Gold” and that the police, and court sheriffs were empowered to seize all material, and products associated with the cig.

“…any person acting through them be… ordered to deliver (to Tonbridge)… for destruction (of) all products, packaging labels, posters, wrapping, advertising… materials in the possession of the respondents… (and) bearing the mark RG or so nearly resembling the trademarks of the applicants,” he said.

“The sheriff of Zimbabwe and/or his lawful deputies be… authorised to search for and remove to a storage facility all goods… identical to the applicants’ registered mark 1710/2000 in class 34 from the first respondent (Livera)’s premises at no 40 Van Praagh Avenue, Milton Park… or where ever such goods are located,” Mtshiya said last week.

With this new order, it means Tonbridge can now go after RG’s billboards, assets and product already circulating in the market until finalisation of the main case.

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