EU Court Rules: No Trademark for Monaco

Written by | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

An EU court ruled that Monaco cannot register its own name as a trademark on the grounds that the country is too well known for its Formula One race and the royal family. Five years ago, the principality, being the world’s second smallest independent state after Vatican, was allowed to trademark its name by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which belongs under the United Nations. Yet, Brussels decided not to allow the country to do so on the account of Monaco being referred to as “a playground for the rich and famous”.

The General Court of the European Union issued a ruling according to these lines upholding the decision of the WIPO saying that people would automatically think of the country when they saw or heard it. “The word ‘monaco’ corresponds to the name of a globally-known principality, not least due to the renown of its royal family, its organization of a Formula One Grand Prix and its organization of a circus festival,” the court explained and added that “there is therefore no doubt that the word ‘monaco’ will evoke, regardless of the linguistic background of the relevant public, the geographic territory of the same name.”

The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign micro-state of only two square kilometers located on the French Mediterranean coast. The country of about 36,000 inhabitants was recognized as an independent state under a treaty with France. The country has recently celebrated the birth of twins to Prince Albert II and his wife Charlene. Prince Albert is a son of Prince Rainier and the U.S. movie icon Grace Kelly.

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