Banksy lost a legal battle over one of his most famous artwork, with a trademark attorney describing the decision as “devastating” to the artist.
The artwork, which depicts a masked protester throwing a bouquet of flowers, appeared on a Jerusalem wall in 2005. The British card company Full Color Black, which used the artwork on cards, has since been reinstated.
In 2014, Banksy successfully applied for an EU trademark to work, which was then challenged by Full Color Black. The company argued that the artist was not entitled to the trademark because he did not want to use it for commercial or trademark purposes.
As a result of this challenge, Banksy opened his own store in October 2019 which offered copies of his artwork for sale. In an interview, the artist admitted that the shop opened “with the sole purpose of catering to brands.”
Judges in the European Union Intellectual Property Office have now ruled in favor of all black. They argued that Banksy’s decision to write graffiti for public property and his earlier expressions of a lack of interest in preserving copyright for his work were factors in the judgment.
Banksy has always expressed his contempt for intellectual property, claiming that “copyright is for losers”.
The judges also argued that it was difficult for Banksy to practice copyright laws with anonymity, as the artist kept his true identity secret.
Full Color Black’s trademark attorney Aaron Wood of the law firm Blaser Mills said the verdict was “devastating” for Banksy.
“He will need to consider whether any of his trademarks for his artwork are actually valid,” Wood said.