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French NGOs fight media company’s trademark on word ‘planet’

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PARIS — Can an organization personal the phrase planet?

Highly effective French leisure firm Canal Plus trademarked the time period in France, however environmental teams are pushing again, saying they need to be allowed to make use of the phrase “planet” to advertise their initiatives to reserve it. A number of instances are beneath examination by France’s mental property regulator INPI, together with one coming to a head this week.

Canal Plus argues that the teams’ use of the phrases “planete” in French, or “planet” in English, for advertising functions violates its logos, registered to guard its Planete TV channels that showcase nature documentaries.

The top of environmental group Planete Amazone, Gert-Peter Bruch, thought it was a hoax when he first acquired a mail from Canal Plus claiming possession of the planet model.

The group plans to launch a documentary in February in regards to the destruction of the Amazon forest and activists’ battle to attempt to forestall it. Bruch tried to register a trademark for the identify of his group earlier than the discharge of the film, which is known as “Terra Libre” and was made largely by volunteers.

“I truthfully thought it was a pretend in the beginning. I acquired an electronic mail from Canal Plus and I did not dare open the attachment as a result of I believed it was a virus. So I known as them to ask them whether or not their authorized affairs division tried to contact me, they mentioned sure,” Bruch advised The Related Press.

“I learn the letter with astonishment,” he mentioned. “They have been saying, ‘You do not have the fitting to guard this model (Planete Amazone), we’re opposing it.'”

Laure Ansart’s group confronted the identical drawback: a letter from the Canal Plus group denying her the fitting to make use of the phrase planet for her NGO, known as Run for Planet – 15 Million Timber for Siberia.

The group is organizing a run from Montreuil-sur-Mer in France to Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific Coast in 2022 to boost consciousness about Siberia’s forests, and desires to plant 15 million timber within the area. “Siberia is the inexperienced lung of the northern hemisphere, with the Taiga and its chilly forests which might be important to our oxygen, to the environment of the entire planet,” she advised The AP.

Bruch’s group is making an attempt to achieve an settlement with Canal Plus, and has till Wednesday to submit materials to the mental property authority to keep away from authorized motion. Ansart’s group is awaiting a choice from the authority early subsequent 12 months on whether or not it might register its trademark utilizing the phrase planet. Different teams are going by comparable procedures to attempt to persuade Canal Plus to drop its opposition to their use of the phrase.

The Canal Plus group features a cable community with a number of channels and a film and tv studio that produced or co-produced movies together with Primary Intuition, The Pianist, Inexperienced Zone and the Bridget Jones collection.

The French Nationwide Mental Property Institute, INPI, mentioned it could not touch upon the procedures as a result of they’re confidential till a choice is reached.

Canal Plus declined requests for remark. In letters despatched to the NGOs seen by AP, the corporate listed a number of previous rulings by INPI defending the corporate’s planet logos, involving teams with various missions together with Miss Planete, Planete Macho or Planet Cash Providers.

In its letters, Canal Plus argues that its planet manufacturers “take pleasure in robust recognition on the French and European markets, and subsequently signify a robust distinctive character to designate a tv community and the services linked to it.”

Within the Planete Amazone case, the corporate argues the NGO is providing comparable providers to the Canal Plus Planete channel, and the general public might mistakenly imagine that the NGO is linked to Canal Plus. Bruch disputes this, and argues the community and his environmental group ought to be allowed to co-exist, each utilizing the identical phrase.

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Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.

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