Monkey Business

Written by Tom Synott | May 28, 2021


In the latest of a series of ongoing related cases, the renowned UK street artist Banksy has recently lost another case regarding his famous “monkey” images.


One of his most iconic ranges, his series of monkey paintings typically depict a series of apes with some form of social commentary wrapped around their necks. First commissioned by a club in Brighton in 2002, these range of images have gone on to form the basis of numerous other of the artist’s most successful pieces, with some selling for millions of dollars at auction.

Current proceedings

Whilst such works of art are typically protected by copyright, Banksy has been famously dismissive of intellectual property rights in the past and, in this instance, it is alleged he instead tried to trade mark the painting as a backdoor route to stopping third parties from printing the images on various merchandise. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has recently ruled against Banksy and stated that the evidence he provided in support of his case was allegedly manufactured solely for the current proceedings and not intended to have any real legal basis.

Briffa comment

This case goes to show that both copyright and trade marks are two of the key intellectual property rights you can have. Here at Briffa the team benefits from over 25 years’ experience in defending and bringing both copyright and trade mark claims in virtually every jurisdiction in the world. If you need any further information in this regard, please do feel free to get in touch with us via

Written by Tom Synott, Associate

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