Barclays Africa Group announced plans to change its name to ABSA Group Limited last month, an action that has seen Barclays Kenya taken to court.
ABSA Kenya Limited has taken Barclays Bank to court on the basis that it had reserved the ABSA name with the registrar of names and has been using it for over a decade. What’s more, the company had renewed the use of the trademark in May 2017 for another 10 years.
ABSA Kenya has also gone to court because it has sustained huge financial losses as its clients struggle to understand why another entity is using the same name. ABSA Kenya says clients have cancelled transactions because they cannot tell who ABSA is.
Edward Njuguna and his wife stated in a sworn affidavit that they founded ABSA Kenya in 2005 where they used it to carry out businesses such as stock investment and cleaning services. ABSA was later incorporated in 2006.
Therefore, ABSA Kenya is looking for “a permanent injunction restraining the defendant, its servants, agents and/or employees from trading, using, representing or in any other manner whatsoever, the trademark and the name ABSA or its derivatives, corollaries devices and or ancillaries in Kenya or any other place or at all.”
ABSA Kenya has brought forth tax returns documents, a website domain name it registered in 2005, and registration documents to support its case. The company says it has been operating bank accounts and filing tax returns at the registrar of companies using the ABSA name.
The company is also accusing Barclays of negligence for having failed to do due diligence before proposing to take up the ABSA name. Additionally, Barclays bank has not ceased to use the name even after it was served with a demand.
The bank is yet to make a response regarding the suit, a matter that could not only affect Barclays Kenya but also the Barclays Africa Group.