iROKO partners wins online trademark infringement case

iROKO Partners, one of the world’s largest online provider of African movies and music, has announced a win against a domain name infringing on its trademarks.

iROKO Partners has announced a win against a domain name infringing on its trademarks (image: file)

In the case iROKO Partners Ltd v. Iroko TV Movies, a complaint was filed based on a domain name dispute over iROKO Partners’ complaint was three fold: the disputed domain name was confusingly similar to IROKO Partners, iROKOtv trademark, it was being used in bad faith and, thirdly, that the other party had no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

On 1 June 2012, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) arbitration panel agreed with all three issues and ruled conclusively in favour of iROKO Partners.  In its summary, the panel noted that in this case, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with knowledge of the Complainant’s term “irokotv” and with the intention of taking advantage of the Complainant’s rights in that term.

The panel concluded, “by using the disputed domain name in connection with an unauthorized service which competes directly with the Complainant’s own “irokotv” service, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name in bad faith”.

Bastian Gotter, COO of iROKO Partners says: “I am satisfied with the WIPO’s judgment. We have spent the last two years building a respected, global brand, streaming legally-sourced Nollywood movies online. The company in question willfully set out to defraud our loyal fans by infringing our trademarks and this why we instigated this legal action.

“We have never made a secret of the fact that fighting trademark & copyright infringements are two of our key objectives in raising standards in respecting intellectual property across the Nigerian entertainment industry. Theft of brand names, movies, music – any creative content – is simply unacceptable and we will continue to defend our rights and the rights of movie producers, actors and musicians who work with us.”

Following the decision in iROKO Partners’ favour, the domain name has been taken from the proprietors of Iroko TV Movies and it is in the process of being assigned to the company. The website has since been removed permanently.

The complaint was filed on 18 April 2012 with the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Centre (WIPO) and was filed under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). iROKO Partners was represented by a United States Law Firm Sideman & Bancroft LLC.

Staff writer