The European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg ruled that Danjaq, the American firm which manages the rights to the James Bond films, has no legal control over the name “Dr No”.
Dr No is the title of a 1962 movie starring Sean Connery and is one of the most famous of all Bond films. However, the EU court ruled that, however recognizable the name, it is not qualified as a trade mark.
The German media group, Mission Productions, is expected to now register the name across the EU following the conclusion of this eight-year legal battle.
Danjaq argued that there was a risk of confusion because of 007’s association with the terms Dr No as used in the film and related promotions. The EU stated that the essential function of a trade mark was commercial recognition and Dr No, as used in the Bond film, was an artistic, rather than a commercial, sign.
Danjaq has applied for EU trade mark registration of all the other James Bond film titles. 18 have been registered so far. The names Casino Royale, Octopussy and Goldeneye have been opposed and the applications are pending.