Earlier this month, a case decided by the Italian Supreme Court determined whether the slogan “500% Fiat” can be protected by copyright.
The author of the slogan sued Italian car manufacturer FIAT for using the slogan without its permission. The author had previously registered the slogan with the Italian collecting management organisation (Societa Italiana degli Autori ed Editori).
The author’s argument was rejected by both the Court of Florence and the Court of Appeal of Florence. The argument was rejected on the grounds that the word FIAT is part of many of the Italian car manufacturers trade marks and the slogan itself is inseparable from the word FIAT. The Courts further cited the lack of creativity and originality of the slogan.
In making its decision, the Supreme Court upheld the decisions of the earlier courts. It was ruled the term 500% has no evocative power in the eyes of the public if not used together with the term FIAT. In a circumstance where a slogan includes a strongly evocative brand, it reduces the creativity aspect of the slogan.
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