from the trademark-the-planet dept
We cowl a great many ridiculous and infuriating trademark disputes right here, however it’s at all times the disputes round overly broad phrases that by no means ought to have been trademarked to start with which might be essentially the most irritating. And that the majority irritating of these is after we get into geographic phrases that by no means needs to be locked up by any single firm or entity. Examples up to now have included corporations preventing over who will get to make use of the identify of their dwelling metropolis of “Detroit“, or when grocer Iceland Meals received so aggressive in its personal trademark enforcement that the — checks notes — nation of Iceland needed to search to revoke the corporate’s EU trademark registration.
Whereas it needs to be self-evident how antithetical to the aim of trademark legal guidelines are to even approve of those sorts of marks, I’ll say that I did not see it coming that an organization sooner or later would attempt to play trademark bully over the “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 tasks to reserve it. A number of circumstances are below 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 and marketing functions violates its emblems, registered to guard its Planete TV channels that showcase nature documentaries.
That this dispute is even a factor raises questions. Why on this planet (heh) would any trademark workplace approve a mark solely on the phrase “planet”. Such a registration violates all types of guidelines and norms, specific and in any other case. Geographic phrases are presupposed to have a excessive bar for trademark approval. Single phrase marks not inherently inventive usually do as properly. And, when emblems for both are permitted, they’re usually accomplished so in very slim phrases. That EUIPO by some means managed to approve a trademark that induced a movie firm to suppose it could actually sue or bully NGOs targeted on environmental points for utilizing the phrase for the rock all of us stay on collectively ought to ring as absurd to anybody who finds out about it.
Definitely it did to these on the opposite finish of Canal Plus’ bullying, as they appeared to suppose the entire thing was both a joke or try at fraud.
The pinnacle 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 concerning the destruction of the Amazon forest and activists’ combat 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 named “Terra Libre” and was made largely by volunteers.
“I truthfully thought it was a pretend in the beginning. I acquired an e-mail from Canal Plus and I didn’t dare open the attachment as a result of I assumed it was a virus. So I referred to as them to ask them whether or not their authorized affairs division tried to contact me, they mentioned sure,” Bruch informed The Related Press. “I learn the letter with astonishment,” he mentioned. “They have been saying, ‘You don’t have the correct to guard this model (Planete Amazone), we’re opposing it.'”
Bruch wasn’t the one one. What Canal Plus tends to argue in all of its risk letters is that public confusion may come up because the nature of every entity’s items is just like Canal Plus’. The corporate consists of a film and television studio and cable community that has put out motion pictures reminiscent of Primary Intuition and The Pianist. What any of that has to do with environmental work is anybody’s guess, although maybe a part of the problem is that these NGOs are placing out movies about saving the planet, generally utilizing that time period in titles and advertising and marketing. Nonetheless, all of that may be a far cry from any actual concern for buyer confusion.
However, as we regularly word, trademark bullying tends to work. Bruch’s group is hammering out a cope with Canal Plus in an effort to maintain utilizing the phrase “planet.” That should not must happen, however it’s. Different teams are ready on a ruling from the French Nationwide Mental Property Institute within the hopes that somebody someplace will likely be sane about all of this.
If not, I assume Canal Plus will get to solely use the phrase “planet” on its small a part of the planet. Once more, if that’s how this shakes out, it is about as loopy because it will get.
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