• Marie-Avril Roux Steinkühler

Why not a t-shirt "Pray for Paris" or an aftershave "Je suis Paris"?


© Rafael Garcin

From November 14, 2015, after the terror attacks of November 13 in Paris, the French Trademark Office, the INPI has begun receiving applications to register as a trademark signs such as "Priez pour Paris" (Pray for Paris), "Je suis Paris" (I am Paris).

The INPI issued a press release (INPI, Nov. 20, 2015), thankfully, that it would refuse the registration of such applications as they appear to be a violation of public policy.

“Indeed, these trademarks are composed of words that cannot be captured by an economic actor by virtue of their use and their perception by the community in the light of the events of Friday, November 13, 2015”.

This motivation appears more than justified.

It has to be pointed out that nine months before, on the day of the terror attack against CHARLIE HEBDO on January 7, INPI had also received numerous trademark applications such as "Je suis Charlie" (I am Charlie), or referring to the slogan.

INPI had also indicated that it would refuse to register such trademark applications. In January, the grounds given were different, “because these signs do not meet the criterion of distinctive character. Indeed, this slogan cannot be picked up by an economic actor because of its wide use by the community.”

There is no doubt that this violation of public policy is a far more credible legal basis than a mere lack of distinctiveness.

© Copyright Mars - IP 2020

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