The Federal Trademark Registry, on Thursday, revoked all documents issued to actress Anne Njemanze in respect of brand ownership of a movie, “Domitilla’’.
The registry, a Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment gave the revocation order in a judgment delivered in a petition over the ownership of the brand.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Njemanze had been in a long battle with veteran filmmaker, Zeb Ejiro, over the rightful ownership of “Domitilla”, a brand name for a movie shot and produced by Ejiro in 1996.
The movie which portrays the life of a young woman struggling to make ends meet as a Lagos prostitute starred Njemanze as the lead character and other actresses like Sandra Achums, late Ada Ameh and Kate Henshaw.
A sequel to this, Domitilla 2, was also produced and released in 1999 by Ejiro, while a remake is scheduled for release this year.
Years after the release of Domitilla 1 and 2, Njemanze reportedly trademarked the name “Domitilla and Device” on September 16, 2020, and later approached the trademark registry to register the name.
Delivering his judgment on the dispute, Mr Shefiu Adamu, the Registrar of the Trademark department who led two other members, revoked all documents issued to Njemanze.
In his words, “ the petitioner (Ejiro) has been using “Domitilla’’ for a long time, even the respondent acted in the film named “Domitilla’’ for the petitioner.
“The respondent/applicant had acted in a series of films for the petitioner, Section 22 of the Trademark Act is quite explicit.
“Therefore, the Registrar of the Trademark have the statutory power to correct any error in connection with the application of trademark
“The application of the respondent (Njemanze) is hereby refused, the tribunal cancels any document that might have been issued to the applicant, they were all issued in error.
“The applicant acted in bad fate, and with this, the petitioner’s claim is upheld’’.
In his response to the Judgment, Mr Rockson Igelige, Lawyer to Ejiro, appreciated the registry for the judgment, adding that the judgment was a well-grounded judgment.
He said that the judgment was in line with the principles of intellectual property rights.
Also reacting to the judgment, Lawyer to the applicant/respondent, Mr Marvin Ibem, informed the Registry that he would apply for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment, study it and take it up from there.