October 16, 2016 — In June, the CEO of GberaTinrin Studios Ltd, Akeeb Lawal, issued statements accusing Nigerian Breweries Plc. of Intellectual Property theft of #RepYourHood. According to him, #RepYourHood, is a street concert packaged by GberaTinrin Studios and the concert has being ongoing for over three years, with different shows and venues across Ibadan. The idea behind the concert was to create an event that supports and encourages young artists to stay focused and keep practicing their craft.
“... At the very least, this is an unprofessional act by a respectable Nigerian Breweries Plc., everyone knows that the brand name #RepYourHood #RepUrHood belongs to GberaTinrin Studios Ltd. Thankfully we have the brand copyright obtained from the Nigerian Copyrights Commission. These people have clearly infringed on our rights and they will definitely be taken to court if they don’t stop using our brand name…Akeeb Lawal”
A month later, Nigerian Breweries Plc. lodged separate applications for ‘REPYOURHOOD’ and ‘REPURHOOD’ in Class 41. The applications were both dated August 4, 2016 with trademark application numbers NG/TM/O/2016/88371 and NG/TM/O/2016/88372. The applications covered ‘Education, Providing of Training, Entertainment, Sporting & Cultural activities’ in Class 41. Both applications have been accepted by the Trademark Registry in Nigeria.
It appears that GberaTinrin Studios previously sort Copyright Protection and relied on their ability to institute a passing-off action, and not trademark protection, which may have empowered Nigerian Breweries to move forward with their trademark applications.
“Trademarks protect names, terms and symbols that are used to identify the source of goods and/or services on the market. Trademarks allow consumers distinguish one company’s offerings from another’s. For example, trademarks include brand names such as “MTN”, “Coca-Cola”, “Apple”, “Intel” etc.
Copyright protects original creative works such as books, movies, songs, paintings, photographs, web content and choreography.
Trademarks Protect Copyright Protects
- Logos and other marks used to identify a company and/or its product.
- Songs, movies, television shows, ads, recorded dances, choreography and other performing arts works.
- Company, brand, or product names.
- Paintings, photographs, and other visual works.
- Company taglines and catch phrases such as L’Oréal’s “Because You’re Worth It”
- Books, articles, web content, and other writings.
Interestingly, another application titled ‘REP YOUR HOOD’ was filed by GINI TV Limited exactly 20 days later in Class 41. It is unclear whether this application is connected with either of the parties above. The application dated August 24, 2016, also covers ‘Education, Providing of Training, Entertainment, Sporting & Cultural activities’ in Class 41. The application with trademark number ‘NG/TM/O/2016/88830’ is currently at the status ‘Accepted’ meaning that the next stage in the trademark application process is for the Registry to publish the mark in the Trademarks Journal giving interested parties the opportunity to oppose the registration.