Thursday, 21 April 2011

A misnomer - or trade mark imperialism?

The Max Planck Institute’s Study on the Overall Functioning of the European Trade Mark System is misnamed. It is not about any - "the" or "a" - European trade mark system: if it were, it would be a work of fiction and the whole project would be ultra vires and the UK Independence Party or someone would be challenging it in the Court of Justice (not, note, the European Court of Justice, nor the Court of Justice of the European Union, which institution includes the Court of Justice in which such a constitutional challenge would be brought). It is concerned with trade marks in the European Union, a large part of Europe but by no means its entirety; and a political unit, not a geographical or cultural one.

I find it extraordinary that the Commission, who should know a great deal better, should continue - arrogantly? -  to refer to it as European, when it is about trade mark law in the European Union. Are there expansionist forces at work here? Or is it just sloppiness? What do the Swiss think, or Icelanders, Norwegians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, Serbs, Croatians, Albanians – even Manxmen, Monegasques, Channel Islanders, and all the other non-EU Europeans? I hope to see some comments posted here ... even if they tell me I am wrong.

Good. Now I can get on with looking at what the Study says about trade mark law.

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