Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos has issued a significant legal order, restraining Virony Nigeria Limited from utilizing Nollywood actress Mercy Johnson’s images to promote its various products. This order was granted as an ex-parte measure following a lawsuit filed by the actress against the company.
In addition to prohibiting the use of Mercy Johnson’s images, the court has also issued an injunction for the confiscation of all products produced by Virony Nigeria Limited that feature Mercy Johnson’s likeness, as well as video and sound recordings used in the promotion of their products on social media and across the internet.
The lawsuit stems from allegations made by Mercy Johnson, who claims that the company violated her intellectual property rights after their two-year brand ambassador and endorsement deal, initially signed in 2020, expired in October 2022.
Represented by her lawyer, Prince I. Nwafuru Esq, Managing Partner at The Law Suite in Lekki, Lagos, the actress sought ex parte injunctive relief to prevent the company, its agents, and customers from continuing to use her copyrighted content and image rights in the marketing of their products, and these measures have been granted by the court.
The court’s stand on Mercy Johnson’s allegations
The interim measures issued by Justice Aneke state that, an interim injunction prohibiting the defendant, its agents, distributors, customers, and others from using Mercy Johnson’s images, videos, and audio content for promoting their products until a full hearing on the matter.
Also, an interim mandatory injunction for the seizure and confiscation of all products bearing Mercy Johnson’s images, as well as video and sound recordings used in promoting the defendant’s products on various online platforms.
There was also an order directing the defendant and all platforms hosting their social media content to delete any material, including images and sound and video recordings of Mercy Johnson, used for promoting their products.
In addition, an interim order directing any parties involved in selling or marketing the defendant’s products to remove those featuring Mercy Johnson’s images until the main legal proceedings are resolved.
Furthermore, an interim order directing the Nigeria Police and other relevant security officers to provide the necessary protection and support for Mercy Johnson or her authorized agent in seizing, detaining, and preserving the infringing materials that feature her images, pictures, videos, and audio content.
What to expect
The case has been scheduled for a full hearing on November 10, 2023, where further legal proceedings will take place. Virony Nigeria Limited is now legally barred from using Mercy Johnson’s likeness in their advertisements until the matter is resolved in court.
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