Sunday, February 11, 2007

Should Trademark Law Have a Sense of Humour?

The prolific Dutch journalist Fons Tuinstra of the China Herald reports about the Greenpeace campaign at his local Shanghai subway station to mashup corporate logos to put the environment on people's agenda. Is it satire or plain trademark infringement? Part I here, and part II here.

To my knowledge the Trademark Law does not give any limitations on rights/fair use of a registerd trademark. Should the Trademark Law have a sense of humour and include satire as a valid reason to make a citation of a trademarked logo?

Greenpeace, if taken to court by the trademark rights holders, cannot base its defence on an interpretation of the Trademark Law that is analogous to the Copyright Law, because contrary to many legislations, which include a satire exception in their copyright law, article 22 Copyright Law, lacks one.

In other words integrity of the logo versus self-deprecating fun and social criticism.

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