Banksy leaves a mark in Australia

Written by Samuel O’Toole | July 19, 2021


I would hedge my bets on Banksy being one of the most well-known anonymous people out there, he or she is hugely popular for his graffiti. Celebrity Net Worth tells me that the famed graffiti artist and documentary filmmaker has a net worth of $50 million.

I would hedge another bet on Banksy also being one of the more well-known people in the world of intellectual property, in which I would describe him as being famous for not being able to enforce his copyright. Banksy has also had issues with trade marks recently, the EU Intellectual Property Office revoked his trade marks for being filed in bad faith and for not having been used in trade. A trade mark applicant needs a genuine intention to use the mark in trade and is then required to periodically make use of the trade mark to maintain enforceable rights.

Banksy hasn’t lost sight of the overall trade mark game however. Trade marks are territorial rights, as such a UK trade mark is enforceable in the UK but not in France as an illustration. Banksy’s company, Pest Control Office Limited, has a wide trade mark portfolio with over 50 registrations/applications between the UK, the US and Australia.

This means that Full Colour Black Limited, who attacked Banksy’s EU trade marks, may be opening up a global trade mark dispute. A search of the Australian trade mark register uncovers that Full Colour Black is currently opposing two of Banksy’s Australian trade mark applications.

One of the most important things to consider when filing trade marks, in addition to whether they are registrable or enforceable in the first place, is to look at the territories to file a trade mark in. A useful route can often be to make a trade mark application in the home country, the UK for example, and then ensure any other trade mark applications are filed within 6 months of the first to claim “priority”. The benefit with claiming priority is that your latter application can be backdated to the first application, which would give you an additional 6 months to spread the filings out.

Our lawyers are experts in trade mark and IP law and why not contact us where we would be very happy to offer a free consultation and discuss trade mark filing strategy with you.

Written by Sam O’Toole, Solicitor

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