Westlands wine restaurant at the centre of trade mark dispute - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 1 January 2021

Westlands wine restaurant at the centre of trade mark dispute


A businessman has denied claims of stealing and using the ‘Chez Sonia’ trademark to run a high-end wine shop and restaurant along Peponi road in Westlands, Nairobi. 

 In documents filed in court, Ernesto Gonzalez says he registered the trademark in dispute in strict adherence to the Trade Marks Act and that he is the legal proprietor of the trademark. The name ‘Chez Sonia’ he says was derived from his spouse's name Sonia Massioui which translated from French means “House of Sonia”

 “The registration of the trademark was done in full compliance with the Trade Mark Act and the same is now protected and it is no surprise that no one else can seek to have the name registered under them including the company,” says Gonzalez. 

 Gonzalez is responding to a suit filed by Salome Kiende Ibeere. Salome filed the case under the name Chez Sonia Limited. She claimed she is the one who registered the restaurant's trademark. She sued Sonia, Gonzalez and one Esther Muthoni accusing them of infringing the trade name which she says she registered as Chez Sonia limited.

 Salome in her court papers wants Gonzalez and Sonia stopped from using the name ‘Chez Sonia’. She is also seeking general damages for infringement of intellectual property rights. 

She says Chez Sonia Limited was incorporated in January 2019 to carry out operations as a wine club. Sonia was initially the consenting partner but the two fell out. 

 Consequently, Sonia according to Salome colluded with Gonzalez and Muthoni to trade the wine bar using the name Chez Sonia without the license of Chez Sonia limited. 

But Gonzalez says the insinuation by Salome that they ought to have sought license from her to publicize the trademark is ridiculous especially given that the trademark was already published in the Kenya Industrial Property Journal (KIPI) in August 2019. 

 Gonzales says they have no legal connection with Chez Sonia Limited but maintains that he is the proprietor of the trademark ‘Chez Sonia’ and therefore finds it ridiculous that the company is advising him to abandon his already protected trademark. 

 He has asked the court to dismiss the suit saying Salome has concealed to the court the fact that the name ‘Chez Sonia’ derives from his spouse first name Sonia Mansioui

 “Chez Sonia has become associated with the three of us and we enjoy goodwill among the general population. It should not be taken away from us through lies, ill-will and abuse of the court process, says Gonzalez. 

 Gonzalez is also a shareholder of Case De Sonia and Co, the company that owns the Chez Sonia brand. 

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