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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
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Names of dead celebrities are registrable in Estonia

The Estonian Board of Appeal has allowed the registration of a mark containing the name of the late Georg Ots, a famous Estonian opera singer (Case 897-o, 18 July 2008). The application was filed by a local company AS Norbert, which sought registration of the word mark GO SPA GEORG OTS SPA HOTEL for services in Classes 41, 43 and 44. Norbert provided a letter of consent to use the name Georg Ots for hotel and spa services, issued by the singer’s widow.

The Patent Office refused the application on the ground of good manners: third parties should demonstrate respect for deceased celebrities and should not use their names in the course of business. The widow’s consent was not taken into account on the basis that the right to one’s name is a personal right which, under Estonian inheritance laws, is non-transferable. Marks containing the names deceased celebrities (including Mozart, Picasso and Georg Lurich, an Estonian athlete) had previously been registered, but this was a change in registration procedure.

The Board of Appeal allowed Norbert's appeal. The Office had given insufficient reasoning upon which to base its decision, since there existed no general assumption that the names of deceased celebrities cannot be registered as trade marks. The Office had also exceeded the limits of the exercise of its discretion in relying on the concept of ‘good manners’. Since this term is not defined by law, the office should have demonstrated how registration of the mark would represent an offence to good manners. Registration is contrary to good manners only if it poses an actual and serious risk to moral principles, which was not the case here.

[source: Almar Sehver, AAA Legal Services, Tallinn, writing in World Trademark Report].

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 05.50
Tags: deceased celebrities, Estonia, Registrability,
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