The “Cancellation Division” of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) recently declared that the anonymous street artist’s trade mark is invalid. More specifically, a greetings card company utilised Banksy’s art consisting of a monkey wearing a sandwich board which bears the writing “very little helps”. The original art reads “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge” and is one of the artist’s most famous works to date.
The card company, Full Colour Black, claimed that Banksy’s art is a work of graffiti sprayed in a public place, thus allowing it to be photographed by the general public, to which the EUIPO agreed. Additionally, back in 2007, Banksy’s book Wall and Piece stated that “copyright is for losers” and the artists himself explicitly stated that the public is morally and legally free to reproduce or amend his works. The EUIPO added that Banksy has been aware for years that his works are often reproduced by third parties, despite the fact there is no affiliation or commercial connection between them and the artist.
Another factor that hindered Banksy’s case was his anonymity and as per the ruling he would struggle to protect this piece of art without identifying himself. Banksy has five more trade mark cases awaiting decision by the EUIPO in the upcoming month. Be sure to keep an eye out for further updates on our reading room.
If you have any queries regarding the above article or would require assistance with a trade mark, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our expert solicitor team at Lawdit today.
Tel: 023 8023 5979