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Dublin: 9°C Monday 25 October 2021

Nice try Monaco, but you can't trademark your own name...

Ireland™ does have a nice ring to it though.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene Source: Joel Ryan/AP/Press Association Images

MONACO IS KNOWN for its royalty, formula-one racing and as the playground of the world’s wealthy elite.

But that high-flying reputation comes at a cost with a European court today ruling the tiny principality was too famous to trademark its own name.

Monaco’s government successfully applied for a “word mark” on its name in 2010 to the appropriate world body.

But last year it was refused exclusive rights for the term in the European Union on the grounds the word Monaco designated a place only and was “devoid of distinctive character”.

Today the General Court of the EU upheld the decision – ruling Monaco was too well-known to be entitled to a trademark.

The word ‘Monaco’ corresponds to the name of a globally-known principality, not least due to the renown of its royal family, its organisation of a Formula 1 Grand Prix and its organisation of a circus festival,” the court said.

“Knowledge of the principality of Monaco is even more established amongst EU citizens, notably on account of its borders with a member state (France), its proximity to another member state (Italy) and its use of the same currency as 19 of the 28 member states, the euro.

“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.”

READ: How does the EU work? >

READ: How does the minimum wage (and the cost of living) in Ireland compare with Europe? >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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