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Trademark Registration of “La Mafia” Infringes Accepted Principles of Morality

Recently, the European court ruled that the brand “La Mafia se sienta a la mesa” (The Mafia takes a seat at the table) is contrary to public policy and to accepted principles of morality.

Restaurant chain applies for registration of a trademark

In 2006, a Spanish restaurant chain successfully registered a word and figurative mark as intellectual property. The protection included catering services, running bars, cafeterias and café restaurants. Years later, the Italian Republic filed an application for a declaration of invalidity reasoning the mark was contrary to public policy and to accepted principles of morality.

Trademark trivializes the Mafia

When the EUIPO granted the application of the Italian government, the trademark owner brought an action seeking annulment of the decision. The European court confirmed the office’s decision and emphasized that referring to a criminal organization distorted the positive image of Italian gastronomy. In addition, the trademark trivialized the negative connotations of the word element “la mafia”.

Therefore, when filing a trademark application, it is important not only to avoid potential conflicts with later signs but also to check whether there is any risk for the trademark to be declared invalid. Our attorneys specializing in trademark law will be pleased to assist you.

EC, Judgement of March 15, 2018, T-1/17

Continue reading:
Choosing a company name: not that simple from a legal perspective
Trademark protection in Germany

Olga Stepanova

Olga Stepanova

Attorney Olga Stepanova works for Winheller in the areas of IT law, intellectual property and data protection. Her main fields of expertise include trademark law, copyright law, and competition law.

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