Manufacturers clash over condom branding
By Innocent Tshukudu
A bitter condom dispute has ensued between local manufacturers, Latex Medical Products and business rivals Gemi-Rubber products over the labels of their condoms.Latex Medical Products who manufacture the Monate Black, Lorato and Monate have issued a strong worded public notice against their former boss Mike Proctor, whose new company Gemi-Rubber have branded their condoms using the Monate and Lorato labels.
Proctor quit Latex Medical products last year under controversial circumstances following a failed bid to buy out partners Venture Capital Fund (VCF). He then left his entire shares with the company that had then stopped production and started his own condom manufacturing plant, Gemi-Rubber, in Lobatse.
“It has come to our attention and notice that certain unscrupulous traders with a view to trade upon our goodwill and reputation and or with a view to cause confusion or deception with the public have started using the above trade marks in relation to the goods.” The statement read, adding that “Such wrongful use to the said trade marks amounts to infringement of the said trade marks and also amounts to passing off our goods. LORATO brand is made exclusively for CMS Botswana, whilst WINGS Botswana is Latex Medical Products’ only authorized distributor of the MONATE range of products.”
Kookie Ramatu, the Latex Marketing Manager was this week reluctant to comment further on the matter as she said the company’s lawyers were already handling the matter. “My bosses have advised me against issuing any comments at this stage. Legal documents have already been issued to the offending parties,” she said.
Proctor has dismissed the accusations as sour grapes insisting that his rivals do not have copyrights over some words. “No one has rights over words such as Monate or Lorato unless the words are tied to others such as Monate Black. I personally copy-righted the Monate Black brand and even the people at the Registrar of companies will tell you that you can’t copyright Monate, Lorato or any other word,” he said.