When you’re a company that has grown as quickly as Iroko Partners, the world’s largest distributor of Nigerian entertainment online which recently closed $10 million in funding and is reportedly worth over $30 million, it’s likely that some people might want to follow your path to success.
Well, it turns out that path has dragged a Ghana-based online movies site called IrokoTVmovies.com to an arbitration panel as Techloy has learned that on April 18, 2012, Iroko Partners filed a complaint against the company over its alleged trademark infringement with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center.
According to a 5-page document detailing the complaint and the Center’s panel decision on the alleged trademark infringement which was obtained by Techloy, it “orders that the disputed domain name, <irokotvmovies.com>, be transferred to the Complainant”, Iroko Partners.
Apparently, Iroko Partners provided details of a number of pending and approved trademark applications in Nigeria, the U.S. and for a CTM, although none of these appear to be registered.
However, Iroko Partners owns and operates the domain name, <irokotv.com> which was registered in September 2011 and launched in December 2011 as an online platform for Nigerian and Ghanian movies.
On the other hand, the disputed domain name <irokotvmovies.com> was registered on February 9, 2012 and before the complaint was filed, the website was said to have distributed a range of motion pictures and other video content, which included, amongst other things, Nigerian films, over which Iroko Partners claims exclusive rights. [The website is currently unavailable]
I reached out to Iroko Partners’ Global Communications Officer, Jessica Hope, who confirmed to me that Iroko Partners has indeed filed a complaint and legal proceedings are ongoing, but declined to comment further until the case has been resolved.
We have also contacted IrokoTVmovies.com for their comment and will update this post if we get any feedback.
Here’s the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center panel decision in full: