Amicus Brief

Case R 2248/2019-5, The Estate of the Late Sonia Brownell Orwell ./. EUIPO

Published: February 24, 2021


Grand Board of Appeal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office

Our Position

Names, including famous persons’ names, are not per se excluded from trademark protection. In particular, names of authors may serve as an indicator of the origin of the relevant goods/services and be consequently registered as a trademark. It is therefore for the court or tribunal to assess, on a case-by-case basis, whether a specific famous name would be perceived as a distinctive sign in connection with the concerned goods/services, by applying the standard threshold, applicable to all the other signs. Even if the EUIPO were to find, under absolute grounds of refusal, that the mark at issue was not distinctive, the applicant would be entitled to establish acquired distinctiveness through use.