Judge rules the 'Osborne bull' is national symbol
23 September 2005, SEVILLE — In a landmark ruling, a judge said the 'Osborne bull' familiar to motorists driving through Spain is a national symbol.
23 September 2005
SEVILLE — In a landmark ruling, a judge said the 'Osborne bull' familiar to motorists driving through Spain is a national symbol.
The huge black hoardings are adverts for the Osborne brandy company.
In recent years, the same image has been seen on thousands or T-shirts, hats, keyrings and any manner of tourist paraphernalia.
Now a judge in Seville has ruled the image has come to represent Spain, not just a drinks company.
Five companies in the Andalusian city which produced all manner of tourist products using the 'Osborne bull' image, were sued by the company.
But they were absolved of piracy when the judge said: "It is true that the image is a trademark registered to the Osborne Group.
"But with reference to objects which are not related to the trademark, it is a effigy which has passed into cultural and artistic heritage of the people of Spain."
Until now Osborne had defended the bull image ferociously, prosecuting any small companies which were producing tourist goods with the image.
Osborne plans to appeal to a higher court.
In an earlier case in Malaga in 2003, the owner of another company which used the bull symbol was condemned to six months in jail after being sued by Osborne.
A company spokesman said: "To say the Osborne bull is a symbol of the Spaniards is like saying someone is free to use Coca-Cola because it is a symbol of the United States."
In 1988, Spain banned roadside adverts provoking a debate over whether the bull was a national symbol or trademark.
In the end, Osborne bequeathed the symbol to the nation.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news