People who are world famous usually register their name as a trademark. However, this does not mean that their trademark is automatically famous too. The EUIPO recently delivered an interesting decision about Hergé and the trademark Hergé (for those who do not know, the creator of Tintin). Moulinsart S.A. which owns the rights to the name Hergé objected to a European application Hergé for furniture. Because the products were not similar Moulinsart based its opposition on the free-riding on the reputation of the trademark Hergé. And as we all know, in order to invoke this ground the Hergé mark must be well-known. The EUIPO reviews the evidence of reputation and concludes that without any doubt Hergé is world famous. But the evidence does not demonstrate that the mark Hergé has a reputation. In other words, the fame Hergé has not been transferred to the Hergé trademark, according to the EUIPO. Probably all of the material referred to Hergé, the cartoonist, but Hergé was never communicated as a trademark, so, as an indication of origin for goods and services. For example the evidence mentions the Hergé museum but this evidence is very limited. The lesson learned: famous people will have to use their name in connection to products and services.
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