OUTRAGEOUS! Nigerian Movie Industry Now Nameless As Man Buys Trademark for ‘Nollywood’ In USA

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This is completely unbelievable. I came across this article on Uduak Oduok’s blog and decided to share it.


I was wrapping up my morning routine including checking my social media pages before fully beginning my day when I saw a message/tweet from attorney turned filmmaker Mildred Okwo (@mealdredo).

She directed my attention to the fact that ‘Nollywood’ is now a registered trademark owned by an individual in the state of Washington, USA. It was too hilarious for words and just to be sure, I checked the USPTO.gov website and sure enough, ‘Nollywood’ is now a registered trademark owned by a Nicholas Opara.

To add insult on injury, the named individual allegedly sent a cease and desist letter to a company using the word ‘Nollywood.’ For those who may not understand the significance of this, it means using the word Nollywood in any of your products or services without the permission of the trademark owner  could have you facing legal liability for trademark infringement. Yes, the second largest film industry in the world has just become nameless. If the name was ‘Nollywood Legal’ or some derivative of the ‘Nollywood’ name, then that is a different matter.

But to solely register the name Nollywood and expect the entire country of 170million in Nigeria and the entire globe that uses ‘Nollywood’ a generic name, to stop, is laughable at best. Clearly, an oversight but calls for the need to educate folks at the USPTO to do some more research before approving names like this one.

For a more detailed discussion on trademark basics, below is a republished article I wrote a little while back on a different platform on Trademark law.

Hopefully, the USPTO gets this rectified ASAP.


For the remaining part of the report, click this link.

I am no lawyer but if I read that correctly, that means the entire industry needs a reboot.

Why will a man named ‘Nicholas Opara’ obviously a Nigerian name register what he knows to be the name of the second largest industry in the world?

This is just outrageous and we hope something is done about this in the nearest future.

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Author: M.Y

Computer Scientist, Digital Marketer and Movie Lover. Drop me in front of a 100 feet screen showing anything with Tom Hanks in it and my day is made. Find me on Google+

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  1. I see this as a God-send to the Nigerian film industry. Like ‘African Film Commission’ said above, “Nollywood” was never original in the first place. A while ago, I discussed with a friend how I will never use the term “Nollywood” in referring to the Naija industry, I even tweeted to folks to suggest better names. Why names like Nollywood, Ghallywood, Bollywood exists, and 170 millions Nigerians are fine with it, just proves again the mindset we have as Nigerians; the settle-for-less mindset. And this will not do if we want to spearhead excellent Nigerian cinema in this world. We must kill every once of mediocrity associated with our previous identity; thus the 1st step is we must assume a different name. The feat is difficult, but nothing great comes easy, we must start somewhere.
    God bless Nicholas Opara.

    Post a Reply
    • Lovely observation Mr Opara. I once wondered the same thing. I am not a big fan of tags like “wood”, “African Oscar” etc…..but I guess they are keying into trends for better acceptance. But it doesnt change the fact that we could be more original. Anyways, I am sure this name trademark thing has already been taken care of.

      Post a Reply
      • Hallo,

        Just wanted to clarify; when I said “God bless Nicholas Opara.”, Nicholas Opara is the person referred to in your article who bought the rights to the name ‘Nollywood’. Nicholas Opara isn’t Naijacine, at least he hasn’t bought the rights to our name as much as know, lol.

        “…but I guess they are keying into trends for better acceptance.” It’s more like forcing oneself to adopt the last name of a family and then becoming the smaller, weaker sibling. We can do better, we just have to become better.

        Cheers to our progress.

        Post a Reply
        • Lol..sorry Naijacine, Well I believe Mr Opara is just a terrible person to think he can claim a name the industry has been using for many years now. We have to just grow now. Thats the best we can do. The name belongs to us now. Nothing anyone, not even Opara can do about that.

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