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Guess, you left Banksy no choice

Political street artist Banksy went viral on social media on Friday over a post accusing Guess of using his artwork without consent to front their Guess store on Regent Street, London. In the Instagram post, which attracted over 1.7 million likes, Banksy wrote “Attention all shoplifters please go to GUESS on Regent Street. They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?” The artwork in question is one of Banksy’s most famous pieces of work and has been called “Flower Thrower”, “Flower Bomber”, “Rage” and “Love is in the Air” in the past. The artwork has sparked legal debate in the past, with Banksy suing Full Colour Black greeting card company for intellectual property infringement in 2020. Banksy also tried to trade mark “Flower Thrower” back in 2014, though this application was rejected by the EUIPO. The decision to reject Banksy’s application, according to some, opened up the floodgates on Banksy’s art portfolio. The EUIPO ruled Banksy’s intention was not to use the mark as a trade mark to commercialise goods, but to circumvent the law, and that is inconsistent with honest practices. This ruling seemed to set a precedent for all of Banksy’s art portfolio, not just Flower Thrower, until earlier this week when Banksy won an appeal to keep a trade mark of the famous “monkey wearing a sandwich board” at the UK Intellectual Property Office. Guess’ decision to use that artwork appears to be the company’s attempt at capitalising on that earlier decision. The post appeared to have the desired effect, however, with Guess having to shut its Regent Street store, cover the windows and hire security to monitor the building. The post raises awareness of intellectual property rights and the concept that although physical theft may not have taken place, the theft of an idea or creative expression can have lasting effects on the rights owner. If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com The post raises awareness of intellectual property rights and the concept that although physical theft may not have taken place, the theft of an idea or creative expression can have lasting effects on the rights owner. If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com in: Companies, Consumer Law, Copyright, EU/International, Legal News, News

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