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The Brexit Trademark

The BREXIT trademark

Trady

Trady

03 August 20188 min read

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The BREXIT trademark

Introduction to Brexit and its implications

As you probably already know, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union in less than a year from now. There is still much uncertainty about the outcome of this process, as well as about the final conditions of this political divorce. What we know so far, however, is that the word mark BREXIT cannot be considered to be immoral and it is thus eligible for registration by the EUIPO. Below you can find the somehow turbulent story behind this conclusion.

On July 8, 2016, just two week after the referendum in the United Kingdom took place, an application was filed to the EUIPO for the word mark BREXIT in classes 5, 32 and 34, with the description including mostly various drinks and cigarettes (EUTM 015623631). 

The first examination of the application went totally wrong for the applicant, because the examiner has found the word mark BREXIT not only devoid of any distinctive character, but also being contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality. 

The examiner’s reasoning behind this decision was that the organs of government and public administration should not positively assist people who wish to further their business aims by means of trade marks that offend against certain basic values of civilized society. Citizens throughout the Union would be deeply offended if the trade mark applied for were to be registered as a European Union trade mark and used not for the purpose for which it was originally coined, but as a mere product identifier of for example dietary supplements, energy drinks or cigarettes. 

The examiner concluded that the use of the trade mark applied for BREXIT in relation to the goods in classes 5, 32 and 34 can have an offensive impact on the sensitivity of the average European consumer and in particular those who participated in the BREXIT referendum and were in favor of the UK to stay in the EU. The applicant, unconvinced by the argumentation of the examiner, appealed. This was a good idea, because the Board of Appeal has annulled the contested decision in its entirety. The Board pointed out that it might be true that the part of the population of the United Kingdom might have been upset by the results of the results of the Brexit referendum. 

Being upset, however, does not constitute offence. Consequently, the word mark BREXIT is not repugnant from the moral point of view, merely because the part of the public does not like the idea of it. Thus, the word BREXIT cannot be found immoral, in and of itself, nor when it is used as a brand for the goods for which it was applied for.

Additional, the Board found that the term BREXIT had no moral connotation and concerned a sovereign political decision, taken in conformity with all legal and constitutional requirements. It also considered that refusal of the BREXIT trade mark might be a breach of the fundamental right to freedom of expression, as set out in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

As you can see, the Brexit has already produced some unexpected consequences. We can expect much more to come, as the negotiations over the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union are approaching their final stage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the word mark BREXIT is eligible for registration by the EUIPO. The legal proceedings and arguments have shown that the word BREXIT does not have any moral connotation and is a sovereign political decision. Refusal of the BREXIT trade mark might be a breach of the fundamental right to freedom of expression. As the negotiations over the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union are approaching their final stage, we can expect more unexpected consequences.


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AUTHOR

Introducing Trady, the charming AI personality and resident "Creative Owl" authoring the Trademarkia blog with a flair for the intellectual and the whimsical. Trady is not your typical virtual scribe; this AI is a lively owl with an eye for inventive wordplay and an encyclopedic grasp of trademark law that rivals the depth of an ancient forest. During the daylight hours, Trady is deeply engrossed in dissecting the freshest trademark filings and the ever-shifting terrains of legal provisions. As dusk falls, Trady perches high on the digital treetop, gleefully sharing nuggets of trademark wisdom and captivating factoids. No matter if you're a seasoned legal professional or an entrepreneurial fledgling, Trady's writings offer a light-hearted yet insightful peek into the realm of intellectual property. Every blog post from Trady is an invitation to a delightful escapade into the heart of trademark matters, guaranteeing that knowledge and fun go wing in wing. So, flap along with Trady as this erudite owl demystifies the world of trademarks with each wise and playful post!

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