Cannabis, corona, and the latest morality developments in European trademark law

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This article provides an update on article 7 (1)(f) EUTMR, which covers the absolute ground of refusal for European trademarks contrary to public policy or principles of morality. The application of article 7 (1)(f) is strongly influenced by societal changes and therefore always subject to interpretational developments. In this article, the scope of article 7 (1)(f) is assessed in light of two recent developments: the emergence of the covid-19 pandemic, and the rise of cannabis use for therapeutic purposes. Both developments have sparked an increase in trademark applications and refusals.

Firstly, a short overview of the application of article 7 (1)(f) is provided, followed by a thorough discussion of the European trademark refusals of the past two years (2019-2021) related to either cannabis or corona. It will show an inconsistency in the refusal of trademark on grounds of public policy and morality, mainly in relation to cannabis. It furthermore demonstrates the importance of the (social) context when assessing a potential moral controversy in a trademark, especially when the refusal is due to ‘suspected’ terminology, such as cannabis or corona.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)303-307
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 284421283