Banksy loses trademark battle over graffiti work

MADRID • British street artist Banksy has lost a two-year trademark battle with a greetings card firm over his Flower Thrower graffiti work after European Union (EU) officials said his anonymity meant he could not be identified as the owner.

The ruling concerns one of Banksy's famous efforts showing a masked protester hurling a bunch of flowers, which first appeared on a wall in Jerusalem in 2005.

The mysterious artist, whose graffiti paintings have appeared overnight on buildings around the world, obtained an EU trademark (EUTM) for the image in 2014.

But two years ago, Full Colour Black, which makes greetings cards and wanted to use the image, claimed the trademark was taken out in bad faith as he never intended to use it for goods or services - in a challenge accepted by the EU's intellectual property czars.

"It is clear that when (Banksy) filed the EUTM, he did not have any intention of using the sign to commercialise goods or provide services," the panel found, saying the artist's anonymity had worked against him.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2020, with the headline 'Banksy loses trademark battle over graffiti work'. Print Edition | Subscribe