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Banksy has lost a legal battle against the British greeting card company Full Colour Black, which sought to overturn a trademark that prohibited it from reproducing one of the anonymous street artist’s works. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ultimately ruled against the artist, determining that he could not be identified as the unquestionable owner of the image.
“Banksy has chosen to remain anonymous and, for the most part, to paint graffiti on other people’s property without their permission, rather than to paint it on canvases or his own property,” the EUIPO panel said.
In 2014, the artist’s representatives, Pest Control Office, successfully secured an EU trademark for the image of “Flower Thrower,” a stencil mural he painted in Jerusalem. Full Colour Black, which specializes in “the commercialisation of world famous street art,” according to its website, began an invalidity action against the trademark in March 2019.
The EUIPO panel also said Banksy’s case was further undermined by a gift shop the artist opened months later in Croydon, South London. The store, called Gross Domestic Product, was described as selling “impractical and offensive” merchandise, such as disco balls crafted from police riot helmets. It was seen by EUIPO as a bad faith attempt to outsmart the law, which allows any mark that is not being used by the trademark holder to be transferred to someone who will.
Aaron Wood, a lawyer at Blaser Mills, which represented the card company, told the Guardian that the results of the recent litigation could threaten other Banksy trademarks.
“If there was no intention to use then the mark is invalid,” he said. “In fact, all of Banksy’s trademarks are at risk as all of the portfolio has the same issue.”
The former panels, removed in 2017, featured images dedicated to Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.
One researcher, Jürgen Schick, estimated that over half of the region’s historical artworks have been stolen.
The Morgan Library & Museum Presents Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South
This exhibition celebrates the Morgan’s recent acquisition of drawings by Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young.
The visual arts institution and educational center is located in the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.
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Part of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Art Preserve also functions as a curated collection facility and is filled with immersive installations.