David Mugabe and Andante Okanya
Court blocks manufacture of Comfoam mattresses over counterfeit. Industrialists are hoping that efforts by the courts, regulators and stringent laws will help curb the rampant counterfeiting that is hurting their sales.
On Tuesday, the Commercial Court in Kampala blocked Comfoam Industries Limited from manufacturing a brand of mattresses on the prompting of a complaint raised by Megha Industries Limited over imitating its product.
Megha Industries lawyers from the firm Owen Murangira and Company Advocates, extracted an order signed by the court’s registrar Thadeus Opesen.
The order is in effect, pending the determination of the main case scheduled for hearing on August 25 in court presided by Justice Flavia Senoga Anglin.
“An interim order doth issue against the respondent (Comfoam), its agents, and or whosoever from continuing to manufacture, sell and pass off its mattresses as being those of the applicant till the hearing,” the order states in part.
The contention is over the cover design used by Comfoam on its mattresses. Megha contends that its rival cover design has a striking resemblance with its own.
Yesterday, court had convened to hear the case. Megha Industries legal team comprising Owen Murangira,Eric Sabiiti, and Nicholas Mwasame, informed court that they were ready to proceed.
The operations manager of Megha Industries Myers Mwesigye, has sworn an affidavit, stating that the actions of Comfoam have negatively affected Megha’s sales.
Mwesigye asserts that for purposes of confirming that the court had been disobeyed , he purchased the imitated products from Comfoam’s stores. Counterfeiters hurt the original owners of the brand by riding on a brand they never invested in promoting and building.
Megha Industries has also written to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) asking them to urgently intervene on the manufacture and sale of sub-standard mattresses by Comfoam.
“To make it worse and worrying, Comfoam has gone ahead to copy the design and the pattern of our mattress covers that has caused confusion in the market and has greatly affected our sales,” reads the letter to UNBS.
Dr Shiraz Meghani, the chairman of Megha Industries says there should be more compulsion to deter people who counterfeit products.
Meghani has noted that overtime, there has been stability in density maintenance and quality of good products of foam mattresses manufactured in the country.
“There should be a warrant to start getting their goods from the market,” states Meghani.
Patricia Ejalu, UNBS deputy executive director in charge of technical operations has warned that if someone is trying to make a counterfeit product out of another certified by UNBS like Royal Foam, it is illegal to use the UNBS logo.