Soviet coat of arms ruled definitely not 'PC' in EU

20th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Soviet coat of arms of the planet Earth ringed by the iconic hammer-and-sickle and red star of the former USSR, was ruled not politically correct for use as a trademark across the EU on Tuesday.

A trademark "must be refused registration if it is contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality in part of the European Union and that part may, in some circumstances, be comprised of a single Member State," the European Court of Justice said in a ruling.

The Luxembourg-based court's judgement followed an appeal by a Russian designer whose 2006 application to use the coat of arms as a trademark was thrown out by the bloc's trade mark office, OHIM.

It had held that the Soviet-era symbols would be seen as breaching public policy and accepted principles of morality by much of the public in parts of the European Union which had been subject to the Soviet regime.

The fashion house, Couture Tech Ltd, appealed for an annulment of the decision before the General Court.

But the court threw out the appeal Tuesday.

It recalled that under Hungarian law for example, the sickle, the hammer and five-point red star were considered "symbols of despotism" and their use contrary to public policy.

Concepts of "public policy" and "accepted principles of morality" must be interpreted not only to all member states, but also taking into account particular circumstances of individual states, it argued.

"The registration of a mark must be refused if it is contrary to public policy and to accepted principles of morality in only part of the European Union," it said in its ruling.

© 2011 AFP

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