Banksy loses major trademark battle with greeting card company

He refused to reveal his identity in the case.

Banksy has lost a legal battle over one of his most iconic artworks, after refusing to reveal his identity to judges.

The artwork, which shows a masked protester throwing a bouquet of flowers, initially appeared on a wall in Jerusalem in 2005.

It has since been adopted by the UK card company Full Colour Black, which has used the artwork on their products.

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Banksy successfully applied for an EU trademark of the piece in 2014, but this was challenged by the card company who argued that the artist did not want to merchandise it, but created it as artwork.

The street artist subsequently opened his own shop last year in Croydon, South London, which featured versions of the artwork for sale. In an interview, he admitted that the shop was opened “for the sole purpose of fulfilling trademark categories”.

Banksy free print for voters
Banksy

A two-year legal battle has now come to an end, after three judges from the European Union Intellectual Property Office ruled in favour of Three Colours Black.

They argued that Banksy’s famous graffiti displays on public property and his previous anti-copyright stance were both major factors.

Banksy previously decried copyright in his 2006 book Wall and Piece, as well as claiming that “copyright is for losers”.

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The judges also said that he had attempted to “circumnavigate the law” by opening the shop, and said his intentions had been dishonest.

Singling out Banksy’s refusal to reveal his identity in the case, they added: “He cannot be identified as the unquestionable owner of such works as his identity is hidden; it further cannot be established without question that the artist holds any copyrights to graffiti.”

Full Colour Black’s trademark attorney, Aaron Wood, said that the ruling was “devastating” for Banksy.

“He will need to consider whether any of his trademarks for his artworks are actually valid,” Wood said.

Earlier this month, Art Attack star Neil Buchanan was forced to deny that he is Banksy after a fan theory went viral online.

 

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