Doctors in nasty fight over trade name

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WHAT is in a name?
We are reminded of these words by a nasty legal fight pitting a prominent Bulawayo medical doctor with her three fellow medical practitioners whom she is accusing of allegedly a�?stealinga�? her clinical name and using it in their medical practices to draw in her clients.

Dr Stella Ovuapoyerin Achinula is accusing Dr Jimmy Gazi, Dr E Mucheni and Dr R Mucheni of allegedly copying the trade name of her private practice, Parkade Clinic and its logo in a desperate bid to confuse and take her clients.

In her suit which she filed at the Bulawayo High Court under case Number 1363/14 and cited Dr Gazi as the 1st respondent and Dr E Mucheni and Dr R Mucheni as the 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively, Dr Achinula claimed that she vainly tried through her legal practitioners to advise Dr Gazi to desist from using her practice name in the course of his medical practices.

Meanwhile, Dr Gazi is reportedly on record claiming that he had a registered company called Parkade Clinic (Pvt) Ltd and had used that name before Dr Achinula.

However, Dr Achinula is maintaining that when she started using the name in 2011 nobody else in the medical field was using it.

She said she came up with the name Parkade Clinic when she started operating opposite Parkade Centre Building as she wanted her clients to easily remember it with the name of the building.

a�?When I applied to the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe to register my practice as such in 2011, my application was approved as there was no other medical practitioner who was practising under the name and style of Parkade Clinic.

a�?Given the sensitivity of the medical practices and the accountability expected of a medical practitioner and the liability that may come in the practice of medicine, the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe would not have approved my trade name if another practitioner was using it.

a�?In October 2013 the 1st respondent came to my clinic and said to me that he was returning from Swaziland and wanted to start practising medicine in Zimbabwe. He asked me in my practice and I declined his offer since I did not know him well.

a�?However, I was shocked when he opened a branch together with the 2nd and 3rd respondents at Corner 8th Avenue and Five Street under my trade name and logo of Parkade Clinic. Respondents have copied my trading name and logo and they are using it in their medical practices including in writing prescriptions.

a�?It is clear to me that the respondents have done this deliberately in order to confuse my clients especially since the 1st respondent is still operating from the premises where I operated for four years. It also meant to confuse most of the public,a�? argued Dr Achinula.

She said what surprised her was that on 7 April 2014 when respondent, Dr Gazi wrote that he had a registered company called Parkade Clinic, a search at the Company Registry revealed that he was a�?lyinga�?.

Dr Gazi is alleged to have registered the company on 15 April this year.
a�?Respondenta��s use of the trade name in operating the business of medical facilities should not be allowed as it will cause confusion. It is therefore that reason I apply for the interdict in terms of the draft order. There is no other legally registered medical practitioner under the name and style of Parkade Clinic other than me,a�? she said.

However, the matter was set as an opposing matter after Dr Gazi who is disputing Dr Achinulaa��s claims filed his notice of opposition saying he was the one who first came up with the name Parkade Clinic.

He said the name was in use long before the applicant assumed it.
a�?I denied that the applicant came up with the name Parkade Clinic. The applicanta��s averment that she decided to call her clinic the Parkade Clinic as it was located opposite Parkade Centre is untrue. The trade name was in use long before the applicant assumed it. The applicant has also failed that she will suffer harm as a result of the Parkade Clinic remaining while it is being utilised by the respondent,a�? he said.