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01/05/2018 - General Court confirmed that "FACK JU GÖHTE" is contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality - Richard Milchior

Richard Milchior, IP lawyer wrote an article in the World Trademark Review.

Case Constantin Film Production GmbH vs. European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) n° T-69/17 January 24 2018.

The General Court confirmed the Board of Appeal’s decision to reject the application of "Fack Ju Göhte" as a trademark. The General Court does a rare application of the article 7 (1) (f) of Regulation 207/2009 (now Regulation 2017/1001). This article raises as an absolute motif of refusal of trademark registration the contradiction with public policy or accepted principles of morality.

The application was refused by the examiner on the basis of Article 7 (1) (f), in combination with Article 7 (2), of Regulation 207/2009 (applicable on the facts at that time). The applicant appealed the decision.

The aspect of this case is that the sign "Fack Ju Göhte" is the title of a comedy movie launched in 2013 and which had a sequel in 2015.

The Board of Appeal rejected the application on the ground of general interest by censoring something considered as against accepted principles of morality. It considered that the relevant German-speaking public could perceive the pronunciation of "Fack Ju" as identical to the English "Fuck You", which is inherently vulgar. Moreover, the addition of "Göhte" was a post mortem insult to the famous German writer Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, with the typo in his name adding to the insult, even though the film had a large success.

The Board of Appeal’s decision was challenged in front of the General Court. Despite the arguments raised by the applicant, the court confirmed the Board of Appeal’s decision on accepted principles of morality. It considered that the Board of Appeal was right to find that the English expression "Fuck you" and the sign applied for were inherently vulgar and could shock the relevant public.

Read full article here

Source : World Trademark Review

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    Richard Milchior