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Soviet symbol offensive, can't be trademarked, EU court rules

Other News Materials 20 September 2011 14:37
The symbol of the Soviet Union cannot be registered as a trademark in the European Union because of its offensiveness in countries that have been under Soviet rule, the bloc's judges ruled on Tuesday.
Soviet symbol offensive, can't be trademarked, EU court rules

The symbol of the Soviet Union cannot be registered as a trademark in the European Union because of its offensiveness in countries that have been under Soviet rule, the bloc's judges ruled on Tuesday.

Couture Tech, a company linked to a Russian designer, had filed an appeal before the General Court of the EU against the 2006 decision of the EU's trademark office (OHIM) to refuse registration for the Soviet coat of arms, DPA reported.

But the Luxembourg-based court upheld that decision because under EU law, symbols which are "contrary to public policy" and "accepted principles of morality" cannot be protected.

In particular, "according to Hungarian legislation, the sickle, the hammer and the five-point red star are considered to be 'symbols of despotism' and their use is contrary to public policy," EU judges said in a statement.

In its original decision, the OHIM noted that similar legislation and administrative practices are enforced in Latvia and the Czech Republic.

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