A popular filmmaker, Zeb Ejiro, has expressed his joy at defeating actress Anne Njemanze in a copyright infringement case related to the movie ‘Domitilla’.
On Thursday, May 4, 2023, Shafiu Yauri, Chief Registrar of the Trademarks Court in Abuja, canceled Njemanze’s registration of ‘Domitilla’ as a trademark. He ruled that the issued documents were made by mistake.
Speaking about the genesis of the case, Ejiro said Saturday Beats, “When I filmed ‘Domitilla’ in 1996, I invited Anne to act in it. He was not a star then. A few years later, I did ‘Domitilla 2’. She did not play the role of Domitilla in that sequel, but the character’s mother. When I entered the partnership with FilmOne Entertainment, I called them in 2019 to tell them that we were shooting the movie.
“When I called him again last year (2022) when we were ready to shoot, he asked me to pay him N17m. I didn’t know he went after me to trademark the name as his property.
“Then I applied to the trademark office, because Anne had no work under the name ‘Domitilla’. Then we were invited to defend our presentation.
“They (Anne and her lawyers) tried to get an injunction to stop the release of the film, but they failed. In the end we won the case.”
Ejiro also stated that he contacted Njemanze on the matter to no avail. He said: “We finished shooting and editing the playback of the movie, when suddenly we saw the court order that our office should be searched and property seized because we were violating Njemanze’s right. I called him several times to ask what was going on, but he did not answer my calls. When I was older in the industry, I started calling people to talk to him. I asked him why he wanted to kill my business. Is this how he was supposed to pay me, what God used to launch me into the industry?