Banksy Dealt Blow in Trademark Case Challenging Monkey Image

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The European Union Intellectual Property Problem of enterprise (EUIPO) has ruled in opposition to Banksy in a trademark case surrounding the prestigious avenue artist’s iconic monkey image. According to a file by the Art Newspaper, the artist’s EU trademark of the work, which became first filed by the entity Pest Control in 2018, has been “declared invalid in its entirety” by the EUIPO.

The case stemmed from a 2019 grievance issued by the greeting card firm Fat Colour Shadowy, which contended that Banksy’s trademark became “filed in unpleasant faith and that it became non-distinctive,” in accordance with the Art Newspaper.

Bansky’s image, which became first commissioned in 2002 by a Brighton nightclub, aspects a monkey whose torso is roofed by the message “Chortle now, but one day we’ll be responsible.” A version of the spray paint work sold at Christie’s 21st-century evening sale final week for over $2 million.

In its ruling, the EUIPO capabilities to the image’s existing in public spaces as graffiti, which has made it “free to be photographed by the frequent public and has been disseminated widely.” It states that the artist has long been aware that his works were being used and reproduced “on a large scale with out any of it being below his retain a watch on.”

Last fall, the EUIPO issued a identical ruling in opposition to Banksy’s trademark for his Flower Thrower image. The artist has since re-filed a trademark for that image. Banksy has beforehand asserted that “public entry to a trace and vast dissemination of a trace is no longer a bar to registration.”

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