Where is the line drawn for Trade Mark applications?

The news is often associated as the bearer of bad news but is entirely useful in keeping readers up to date on topics of interest. What I did not expect to read was that a company in Belize known as Seyefull Investments Ltd has filed trade mark applications to register the terms “MH370” and “MH17”. This would entitle the company to receive royalty payments every time the terms were mentioned on Radio, TV and in movies.

“MH17” was filed with the European Trade Mark and Design Network the day the crash happened and “MH370” on the 2 May 2014 which was at least slightly mindful of the families grieving this awful tragedy, or what is more likely to be the scenario, when the company realized the potential of the mark!

Technically speaking the company is allowed to register for both the marks and may even succeed, however on a moral basis this is extremely distasteful with more stringent rules in place should this become a growing trend. The nearest law the EU has to rejecting such applications is contained in the Directive 2008/95 Article 3(1)(f) which states a sign will not be registered if it is contrary to public policy or contrary to accepted principles of morality.

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