Canal+ trademarked the word “planet,” and that’s affecting NGOs

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The Paris-based firm Groupe Canal+, or the Canal+ Group, includes an extended listing of TV channels broadcasted across the French-speaking world, in addition to a famend movie studio, Studio Canal. When it launched certainly one of its channels, Planète+, which airs documentaries, in 1999, it trademarked the phrase planète or planet. Since then, it has usually opposed logos by different corporations whose names include the phrase, and has recently been concentrating on a spread of environmental NGOs—whose work is dedicated to saving mentioned planet.

One group, Planète Amazone, is planning to launch a documentary in February on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and not too long ago tried to register its title as a trademark. The group’s director, Gert-Peter Bruch, advised The Associated Press that they acquired a letter from Groupe Canal+’s authorized affairs division “claiming possession of the planet model.” Bruch thought it was so absurd that he was certain it was a pretend letter (and even fearful about clicking on the e-mail attachment for worry of a virus). Bruch now has till Wednesday to file supplies to the INPI, France’s mental property authority, to keep away from authorized motion.

One other nonprofit, Run for Planet – 15 Million Trees for Siberia, additionally acquired a letter from the media company, after it tried to trademark its title because it plans a charity run in 2022, from France to Russia, to boost cash for replanting Siberia’s struggling forests. The founder, Laure Ansart, has to attend for a trademark choice from the INPI anticipated early subsequent yr.

Groupe Canal+, whose providing over its a number of channels attracts in 15 million subscribers, is reportedly arguing that these different teams’ documentaries and occasions could possibly be considered related to the corporate, because it “enjoys robust recognition on the French and European markets,” in keeping with the letter despatched to Bruch, seen by The Related Press. However the notion that they’re creating confusion is “absurd,” the teams mentioned in a joint editorial, published in the French magazine Marianne, in November.

13 NGOs, together with Bruch’s and Ansart’s, banded collectively as Our Frequent Planet, and wrote the joint editorial, wherein they mentioned they have been in a “Kafkaesque scenario” the place they’re “now not capable of title what they’re answerable for preserving.” What’s extra, these teams usually don’t have the cash to legally defend themselves towards firms. “The implications are dangerous for associations and small constructions that don’t have the monetary or human assets to defend their very own model,” a translation of the op-ed reads.

It provides that current governmental antitrust legal guidelines have allowed free market competitors to be fairer, however that such legal guidelines are nonetheless absent round mental property, which has permitted “giant teams to denationalise widespread phrases for industrial functions.” They argue that their names ought to be allowed to co-exist with these of Canal+.

Quick Firm reached out to Groupe Canal+’s proprietor, Vivendi, for remark, nevertheless it declined. On the time of writing, INPI hadn’t replied to a request for the standing of the trademark circumstances.

The illogical nature of the scenario was not misplaced on the collective. “Can we…think about that, by an administrative sleight of hand, anybody can declare a industrial monopoly on the designation of our world, and even of any celestial physique orbiting round a star?”

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