In the battle of the Darling Yaki Braids, one company is taking another to court for infringing on their braid range. 
Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA
Pretoria - The battle of the braids raged in the Gauteng High Court this week, with the manufacturer of a well known and respected synthetic hair pieces and related products having launched urgent court proceedings against a rival company.

Subinite Ltd, who owned the product Passion for Hair and Darling products, with the get-up in which its YAKI BRAID product is sold, said it had recently noticed rival Forui International Ltd and a shop at Dragon City Mall in Fordsburg, Joburg, were selling its products in similar packaging.

Subinite said it’s Passion for Hair range was respected and it had been on the market since 2012. Its YAKI BRAID range was also very popular and it generated millions of rands over the years.

It now feared that consumers would confuse the respondent’s product with theirs.

Obakeng Mathibe, the legal officer at Subinite, said in papers before court that it would suffer irreparable harm if the respondents were allowed to pass-off its braids as those of the applicant’s YAKI BRAID.

The applicant’s regional manager first spotted the offending product last month being sold at a store in Hazyview. It was spotted less than a week later being sold at a store at the Dragon City Mall.

Mathibe said the packaging is nearly identical to theirs, apart from the New Forui logo on it.

He said the sheriff tried to serve letters of demand on the respondents, but the tenants at the premises given as the company’s registered address, could only speak Chinese.

The lawyers of the applicant then appointed an investigator.

He established that the sole director of Forui International was Qianchuan Zhang. The letter of demand was then translated into Mandarin and served on him.

Despite this, the sales went ahead and the applicant said it had no choice but to turn to the court for an order stopping its rival from infringing on its territory.

Mathibe said its Darling product catalogue contained details of its popular YAKI BRAID, which is widely available country wide from retailers.

He said this product alone had generated more than R608 million since it was sold in 2012, up to now.

The applicant is, among others, the principal sponsor a well known fashion week event.

The court was told that it was thus well established.

The respondents meanwhile, as they faced the legal proceedings, undertook to the court that they will immediately cease all use of the pay-off line Passion For Hair and the product get-up as depicted on their offending packaging.

They undertook to redesign the packaging of their braid products so that it wouldn't look similar to that of the applicant.

Pretoria News