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The Federal Trademark Register on Thursday revoked all documents issued to actress Anne Njemanze regarding the owner of the film’s trademark, “Domitilla.”
The registry, a Business Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, issued the revocation order in a judgment rendered in a petition on the ownership of the trademark.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that Njemanze has long fought with veteran filmmaker Zeb Ejiro over the rightful ownership of “Domitilla”, a trademark for a film shot and produced by Ejiro in 1996.
The film, which portrays the life of a young woman struggling to make ends meet as a prostitute in Lagos, starred Njemanze as the title character and other actresses including Sandra Achums, the late Ada Ameh and Kate Henshaw.
A sequel to this, Domitilla 2, was also produced and released in 1999 by Ejiro, while a new version is scheduled to be released this year.
Years after the release of Domitilla 1 and 2, Njemanze registered the trademark “Domitilla and Device” on September 16, 2020 and later approached the trademark registry to register the name.
In passing his judgment on the dispute, Shefiu Adamu, the registrar for the Trademarks 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 movie called “Domitilla” for the petitioner.
“Respondent/Applicant had acted in a series of films for Petitioner; Article 22 of the Trademark Law is quite explicit.
“Therefore, the Trademark Registrar has the statutory power to correct any error with the trademark application.
“Respondent’s (Njemanze) request is now denied; the court cancels any documents that may have been issued to the applicant; all were published in error.
“The petitioner acted with bad luck, and with this the petitioner’s claim is confirmed.”
In his response to the ruling, Rockson Igelige, Ejiro’s lawyer, thanked the record of the ruling, adding that the decision was well founded.
He said the ruling was in line with the principles of intellectual property rights.
Likewise, in reaction to the sentence, the lawyer for the plaintiff/respondent, Marvin Ibem, informed the Registry that he would request the Certified Copy (CTC) of the sentence, study it and take it up from there.