May 21, 2021

First the flower bomber, and now the monkey sign…

Banksy has lost another trade mark battle against the UK based greeting card company, Full Colour Black Limited. After a lengthy dispute, the EUIPO Cancellation Division has declared Banksy’s company’s ‘monkey sign’ trade mark “invalid in its entirety”.

Pest Control Office Limited, which is Banksy’s legal handling entity, had its EU trade mark application for the ‘monkey sign’ artwork registered in June 2019. However, it didn’t enjoy registration for long as Full Colour sought cancellation of the mark on the grounds that it was non-distinctive and was filed in bad faith.

In the case, the EUIPO referenced its previous decision to invalidate Banksy’s ‘flower bomber’ artwork in September 2020, which was Full Colour Black’s first cancellation request.

Full Colour Black argued bad faith on the basis that Banksy used its homeware shop, Gross Domestic Product, opened in October 2019, to demonstrate the use of the trade mark through the sale of his own range of branded merchandise. Reportedly, he did this after being advised this was the best way to prevent losing the trade mark. However, this backfired as the EUIPO twigged that this was a strategy to fulfil the trade mark classes and show use for the goods registered.

Pest Control will bear the costs of the case, and it is expected that they will not file an appeal. Consequently, Banksy risks having other registrations (in the name of Pest Control) cancelled, because its worldwide applications are based on the EU registrations. Therefore, this could have a detrimental effect on Banksy’s portfolio more generally.

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.

Posted by: Megan Walker in: EU/International, Trade Marks

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