|A subtle message -- but will |
applicants get the hint?
Januar 16, 2015 Über das HABMOHIM - je suis CharlieAs a general rule, OHIM's policy is not to comment on any individual cases of trade mark or design applications either before examination or at any stage of the application and registration cycle.
This Kat is most impressed by the speed and decisiveness with which OHIM has acted. He is also personally pleased to see OHIM issue a message that is designed to dampen the enthusiasm of speculative trade mark applicants who have no connection with the slogan and its provenance and who only want to make a fast buck from capitalising on it. He also observes the caution with which this notice is phrased. It correctly does not state that applications cannot be made to register JE SUIS CHARLIE, either by itself or in combination with figurative features, or that such applications will automatically be rejected on the grounds of Articles 7(1)(b) or 7(1)(f). That such objections will probably be raised is a warning to applicants that they must consider these absolute bars to registration very carefully if they seriously intend to sustain their applications.However, the IP issues surrounding the registration of the "Je suis Charlie" mark could be considered to be of overriding public interest.Therefore, according to OHIM's Guidelines for Examination on Community Trade Marks (Part B, Section 4), an application which consisted of or which contained the phrase "Je suis Charlie" would probably be subject to an objection under Article 7 (1) (f) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation, due to the fact that the registration of such a trade mark could be considered "contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality" and also on the basis of Artice 7(1)(b) as being devoid of distinctive character.
|Prior art ...?|
Neither the IPKat nor Merpel are aware of any other trade mark granting authority having taken a similar initiative, whether within the European Union or beyond it. Since OHIM is responsible only for Community trade marks, which are an autonomous system, its rulings and practices do not bind other offices that apply the same legal principles -- though they are often influential, especially where there is no other available guidance. If readers learn of similar -- or indeed different -- policy statements from other offices, can they please let the Kats know so that they can spread the word.