Representatives of the Apartheid Museum have filed an urgent application to stop Michael Stainbank, who claims to be the founder of the Museum, from defaming them.
On April 11, Stainbank, who claims to be the founder of the Museum near Gold Reef City, published an advert in the Sunday Times which was “defamatory”, according to Advocate Owen Salmon, who represented Freedom Park.
For the over 10 years now, the two parties have been in a trademark struggle over who owns the name “The Apartheid Museum”.
Salmon was arguing in the South Gauteng High Court for urgency in solving the trademark issue due to Stainbank’s behaviour in the media.
Salmon said he would want relief from “defamatory statements” for his client if the courts postponed the case further.
Judge Tshabalala agreed with Salmon and said if Stainbank was indeed making the statements that were presented to him then Stainbank “must be stopped”.
“This matter spans 10 years and this nuisance, with respect, must be nipped in the bud,” Tshabalala said.
“If you can give an undertaking that it [the defaming] will stop then we can adjourn right here and right now and a postponement will be granted,” Tshabalala said to Stainbank’s lawyer, Advocate Donald Carles.
Carles argued that his client had not had enough time to prepare for an urgent hearing and that they needed the postponement from the court.
“Your client did not have time to look at documents served to him by the court yet he was able to place adverts in the newspaper,” Tshabalala said.
Carles said his client had only responded to the documents served to him after he had sought legal counsel on May 6, and this was therefore not enough time to have a sufficient case built.
Carles also said court documents were difficult to read and therefore not comparable to the time it took to place the advert.
Tshabalala maintained that the fact that Stainbank had only sought legal counsel two weeks ago was “not good enough” as he had received the papers on April 26 and should have started building his case then.
Salmon said the Registrar of Companies already agreed with his clients that there was theft of trademark on Stainbank’s part. To this, Tshabalala asked why Salmon was not seeking criminal relief.
Salmon said this suit would bring about the change his client needed, one of a name change. Judgement will be delivered on Friday, May 24.