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News article | 13 July 2021 | European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency

Miley Cyrus registering her name, and Banksy's trademarks cancelled

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Good morning everyone. Hope you are all doing well. For this week’s IP News:

 

Miley Cyrus can register her name as an EUTM

U.S. pop star Miley Cyrus has won the right to use her name as a trademark on a wide range of products in the European Union, after the CJEU annulled a decision by the EUIPO to limit the scope of her brand (case T-368/20).

The case goes back to 2014 when the 28-year-old singer's company Smiley Miley Inc. sought to trademark MILEY CYRUS before the EUIPO for audio and video discs, mobile phone cases, e-books, electronic board games, calendars and other goods. British Virgin Island-based Cyrus Trademarks Ltd, which registered the mark CYRUS in 2010, however opposed the application for some of the products.

The EUIPO backed part of its argument, citing the likelihood of confusion between the two trademarks. Smiley Miley appealed but failed to convince the Board of Appeal last year and subsequently took its case to the CJEU.

The Court decided to overrule the EUIPO's decision, dismissing its arguments that the brands could be confused and that the name Miley Cyrus had no conceptual meaning.

"The mark applied for, MILEY CYRUS, has a clear and specific semantic content for the relevant public given that it refers to a public figure of international reputation, known by most well-informed, reasonably observant and circumspect persons" the CJEU said.

 

Banksy is stripped of trademarks to “Radar Rat” and “Girl with Umbrella”

Banksy has now lost two more trademarks (four in total) because the EUIPO considers that he never intended to commercialise them when he applied for legal protection.

Radar Rat is considered one of Banksy's most iconic works and appeared on a wall in London in 2004 while Girl with Umbrella was created in 2008 in New Orleans. 

Apparently, Full Colour Black, the greeting card company selling recreations of Banksy's work, convinced the EU panel to cancel the trademarks.

In his 2006 book, Wall and Piece, the Bristolian said copyright is “for losers”, inviting readers to download his works for “amusement and activism” rather than profit, pledging never to commercialise his works. In a protection strategy against the card company, Banksy opened a shop where he sold his works “for the sole purpose of fulfilling trademark categories”. According to the EUIPO this “departed from accepted principles of ethical behaviours or honest commercial and business practices”.

 

Interesting fact, if you take a look at Pest Control Office’s website, under “Use of Images” you can now find the following (https://pestcontroloffice.com/use.asp):

You are welcome to use Banksy’s images for non-commercial, personal amusement.

Print them out in a colour that matches your curtains, make a card for your gran, submit them as your own homework, whatever.

But neither Banksy or Pest Control licence the artist’s images to third parties. Please do not use Banksy’s images for any commercial purpose, including launching a range of merchandise or tricking people into thinking something is made or endorsed by the artist when it isn’t.

Saying “Banksy wrote copyright is for losers in his book” doesn’t give you free rein to misrepresent the artist and commit fraud. We checked.”

 

This is all for today. Have a very nice week.

 

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European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency