The Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment through the Trademarks Registry has officially notified the National Broadcasting Commission that Enyimba FM, Aba, which was legally registered by Rethink Media Network Limited for its radio station operation in Aba, Abia State, is illegally being used by one EMPAU Communication Limited, believed to be owned by the immediate past Executive Secretary of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Paul Ikonne.
This was contained in a letter dated July 25, 2022, by A.T. Ogunbanjo for Trademarks Registry, sighted on Thursday.
The letter was addressed to the Director General of the NBC.
The NBC had apparently in a letter dated July 15, 2022 sought the Trademarks Registry clarifications on why two different companies should be licensed to use the name Enyimba FM Aba for commercial radio station operation in the same city and State.
In response, the Trademarks Registry categorically stated: “Referring to your letter dated July 15, 2022, on the above-stated matter (Use of ‘Enyimba FM’ as Trademark by Two Different Companies Licensed by the Commission), I am directed to inform you that investigation in this office has revealed that the application ‘ENYIMBA FM’ by RETHINK MEDIA NETWORK LTD was first in time and was issued an approval based on a consent letter from Abia State Government through the State Ministry of Information.
“It is pertinent to state that the application ‘ENYIMBA FM’ by EMPAU Communication Ltd was approved in error on the basis of a letter from Aba North Local Government, instead of Abia State Government which has the appropriate authority.
“Consequently, a letter of withdrawal of application of ENYIMBA FM has been dispatched to notify EMPAU Communication Ltd of the withdrawal of the acceptance letter earlier granted in error.”
Also, Trademarks Registry in another letter to EMPAU Communication Limited, titled: “Withdrawal of Trademark Application number NG/TM/O/2022/60226 ENYIMBA FM,” said: “I am directed to inform you of the withdrawal of your trademark application ENYIMBA FM NG/TM/O/2022/60226 in class 38.
“The application was erroneously approved as it conflicts with ENYIMBA FM NG/TM/O/2021/44711 dated 26/10/2021.
“Consequently, the approval letter issued to you in respect of the application NG/TM/O/2022/60226 is hereby withdrawn and invalidated.”
When contacted, Rethink Media Network Limited Head Public Relations, Chigozie Joshua, recalled that after its application for a radio license was approved by the NBC, the company in September 2021 approached the Abia State Government through the Ministry of Information with an application for consent to use the name ENYIMBA FM for registration and establishment of a radio station in Aba as required by Trademarks Registry laws and guidelines, given that ENYIMBA is classified as a “Geographical Area”.
The Management further noted that approval was granted by the State Ministry of Information in September 2021, while the Trademarks Registry in October 2021 granted and approved the application of Rethink Media Network Limited to use ENYIMBA FM in classes 38 and 41 respectively for its radio stations operation in Aba.
Rethink Media further revealed that in February 2022, after the allocation of 93.5 FM frequency by the NBC, it unveiled the station’s name and logo as “93.5 Enyimba FM” with its slogan as: “…the peoples’ radio.”
It also laid the foundation for the ultramodern radio station in Aba.
However, further investigation revealed that EMPAU Communication Limited claimed that it got approval from the Trademark Registry on March 17, 2022, with a consent letter from the Chairman of Aba North Local Government Area on March 21, 2022, five days after the alleged approval by trademark.