Recently the European trademarks Office ruled about an opposition concerning the trademark CLAUDE MONET. This trademark has been registered by Brigitte Müller for products in the classes 24 while Academie des Beaux Arts filed this mark in the European Union for many classes amongst others classes 24 and 25. The decision itself is not very surprising, the CLAUDE MONET trademark of the Academie has been refused for class 24 and some products in class 25.
The decision shows the popularity of old famous, writers, painters etc. as trademarks. We all can remember the Picasso-case for cars. While Claude Monet, Rembrandt or Kandinsky can be a valid trademark for products like clothing or cosmetics it can count on difficulties in the event certain products in, for example, class 16 and services in class 41 have been appointed. At least in the Benelux a trademark like this will probably be refused as it can describe the products or services, for example the content of a magazine or movie, i.e. a movie about Claude Monet. Although the European trademarks office does not follow this severe policy it has refused the trademark for services of a museum and organising expositions. When filing famous people as trademark one should remember these pitfalls.
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