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THE JURISDICTION OF THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT IN ACTIONS FOR DAMAGES FOR PASSING OFF
Posted: May 5 2019 12:11PM

 The issue of jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in civil causes has been a subject of controversy at various times.  

By the comprehensive provisions Section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Legal Practitioners and Scholars were of the opinion that the question of the extent of the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in civil matters was settled1.

However, by the decision of the Supreme Court in the recent case of AYMAN ENTERPRISES LTD. v. AKUMA INDUSTRIES LTD2, it has become clear that until a legal interpretation is given to relevant Sections of the Constitution, the extent of the civil jurisdiction of the Federal High Court may never be known. The Supreme Court in this case in construing Section 251(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 held that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction in an action for passing off simplicter For the Federal High Court to have jurisdiction in an action for damages for passing off, it must relate to a registered Trade Mark.  
 
The purpose of this article is to examine this decision in relation to the background of passing off actions and the earlier decision of the Supreme Court in the case of PATKUN INDUSTRIES LTD. v. NIGER SHOES CO. LTD3.  
We shall trace the historical background of passing off actions and the statutory recognition both under the Trade Marks Act Cap. 436 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria1 1990 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and examine the decision of the Supreme Court in AYMAN ENTERPRISES v. AKUMA4 to the extent that the Federal High Court only has jurisdiction in an action for passing off of a registered Trade Mark. The problem Legal Practitioners will encounter as a result of this decision will also be considered.
 
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