Yarona FM has won a major case against Ventura PTY Ltd regarding the latter’s registration of Yarona FM Music Awards and YAMAs patents as its own in 2015. This case has possibly set a new precedent on patents and intellectual property.
Yarona FM applied for the invalidation of the two marks on the 18th April 2018. Ventura filed its own counter statement and evidence on the 29th of January 2019 four days before this year’s Yarona FM Music Awards event. The impending litigation weighed heavily on the event, with many people fearing the event was to be cancelled because of the assumption that the trademarks ‘belonged’ to Ventura PTY LTD.
The judgment drew the conclusion that Ventura’s registration of the trademarks are invalid and will be expunged from the trademarks register. Part of the judgment reads, “The Registrar concurs with the Respondent that the YAMAs mark and the YAROANA FM Live the Music trademark are visually not identical, however from the facts gathered specifically the profit-sharing agreements signed by both parties, clause 2.15 of the 2015 and 2017 agreements stated that, YAMAs means Yarona FM Music Awards, an initiative 100% owned by Yarona FM.”
Commenting on this landmark ruling Kelly Ramputswa the Yarona FM Station Manager said she was pleased with the ruling and the recent success of the 2019 YAMAs. “I believe this sets the right precedent when it comes to trademarks. Yarona FM is a well-known trademark in the market. Use of its name on any application, which is not ours, and/or which is not expressly approved by us is inappropriate. This means that we will be going ahead with our annual event making it bigger and better every year. We thank Batswana for coming out in their hundreds to the event and supporting the event in their tens thousands on social media platforms despite the uncertainty and confusion created by the case.”
Over the years, Yarona FM’s YAMAs have pulled all stops and played a meaningful role in the development of vibrant and commercially viable industry, in what has been coined ‘the event of the year.
This year’s event was preceded by a pre-party with regional and local acts such Cassper Nyovest, ATI, Vee, Bouncy and many others, and an artists’ workshop with Oskido for empowerment. The event was a huge success with 18 categories and directed by Queen B and King B. They vary from song of the year to people’s choice/artist of the year.
Yarona FM will soon be celebrating two decades of air play, having been the first private commercial radio station in Botswana.