Banksy loses lawsuit and sees trademarks threatened

Will Banksy have to drop the mask to preserve his work? All the trademarks registered by the street artist are in any case threatened after he lost a lawsuit against a company producing stationery. Invoking the artist’s anonymity, Full Color Black had reproduced on greeting cards the “Flower Thrower“, or “Flower Launcher», A work produced in Jerusalem.

In 2014, the organization responsible for representing the mysterious street artist, Pest Control Office, had successfully applied for a European Union trademark application for the “Flower Thrower“. But after two years of legal battle, this decision is therefore overturned. The committee of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled against the artist, who could not be identified as the unmistakable author of these works – his identity remaining secret.

«Banksy has chosen to remain anonymous, and largely paint graffiti on other people’s properties, without their permission, instead of painting it on canvas or on his own property.», Specified the committee.

Served by his shop

In addition to his anonymity, Banksy would have been served by another of his initiatives: the opening in October 2019 of a shop in Croydon, in south London. The items were not available for sale within this store, as customers could only purchase them through an online store created for the occasion. Banksy assumed to market only objects “unusable and offensive».

The artist then explained that he was animated by what was “certainly the least poetic motivation for making art“, Namely this battle around the trademark.

«Greeting card company challenges trademark I own for my art, wrote the artist in a press release. She tries to take my name to legally sell their fake Banksy creations“. He assumed that he only marketed objects on his online store “unusable and offensive».

«Bypass the law»

The EUIPO felt that the way the store operated discredited Banksy’s request. The three-judge committee stated that “the artist’s intention was not to use the trademark to market goods, but only to circumvent the law. These actions are incompatible with honest practices».

Aaron Mills, the lawyer representing the stationery company, says the ruling could jeopardize other brands that Banksy has registered. “If there was no intention to use it, then the mark is invalid. Added to this is the issue of fraud. In reality, all the trademarks registered by Banksy are in danger, like all of his work.», He declared to World Trademark Review .

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