Supreme Court rules in favour of Chicken Inn in “Luv” trademark dispute with Chicken Slice


HARARE – The Supreme Court has upheld an appeal by Chicken Inn, a leading fast-food chain in Zimbabwe, against its rival Chicken Slice over the use of the word "luv" in their trademarks.

Chicken Slice loses trademark battle over "luv" against Chicken Inn in Supreme Court ruling
Chicken Slice loses trademark court battle against Chicken Inn in a Supreme Court Ruling. [Image/ZimLive]

Chicken Inn, which operates under the parent company Innscor Africa Limited, had accused Chicken Slice, a subsidiary of Slice Distributors, of infringing its trademark rights by using the word "luv" as part of its slogan "l luv it" for its Slice and Burger products. 

Chicken Inn claimed that it had coined the word "luv" when it launched its "Luv dat chicken" trademark in 1987, and that Chicken Slice's use of the word and a similar colour scheme caused confusion among consumers.

Earlier this year, High Court judge Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba dismissed Chicken Inn’s application that it filed in 2019 seeking an order for an interdict against Chicken Slice for using its trademark, 'Luv' and its colours.

In dismissing Chicken Inn's lawsuit, the High Court ruled that the word "luv" was not distinctive enough to warrant exclusive protection, and that there was no likelihood of deception or confusion between the two products. 

The High Court judge, Justice Sylvia-Chirawu Mugomba, said that apart from the word "luv", the trademarks used by the two companies were not similar, and that a notional customer would be able to distinguish them.

However, Chicken Inn appealed to the Supreme Court, which has reversed the High Court's decision and ordered Chicken Slice to stop using the word "luv" with immediate effect. 

The Supreme Court did not give reasons for its judgement, but only read out the operative part in court.

This is not the first time that Chicken Inn has been involved in a trademark dispute with its competitors. 

In 2012, it also sued Takesure Mbano for trademark infringement, alleging that his plan to launch Chickenza Inn, Creamy Chickenza and Pizza Chickenza resembled its own.

Chicken Inn was founded in 1987 as a single outlet in Harare, and has since grown to over 200 outlets across Zimbabwe and other African countries. 

It is part of Innscor Africa Limited, a diversified conglomerate listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. 

Chicken Slice was established in 2010 by Tawanda Mutyebere. It has over 20 outlets in Zimbabwe and is also listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

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