The Titanic mark

An Australian billionaire has conceived the plan to rebuild the Titanic. In his opinion there is market for people that want to experience a journey on the same vessel that tragically sunk. And probably, he is right.

The billionaire has managed all things properly, probably the reason why he is a billionaire in the first place. One of the things he has done is filing the trademark Titanic in Australia for ships. He also filed the mark Gigantic, this was a different name of the shipowner destined to be used for other ships in “Olympic” class.

The interesting discussion is whether Gigantic and Titanic can be trademarked. In respect of Gigantic you might (rightly) say that this would be descriptive for a gigantic ship. With regard to Titanic the question is whether this word, which is undoubtedly a good trademark, still can function as a trademark as everyone knows and would think of the original ship. We remember a more or less similar case in the Netherlands where the Benelux trademark “Diary of Anne Frank” has been refused: the trademark could not indicate the origin as it describes the content of the diary. Without any doubt an interesting question: can all historic names be claimed?

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Arnaud Bos

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