Enigmatic British street artist Banksy may have to reveal their identity in order to keep their trademarks. The notorious artist lost a case last year after a panel of the European Union said it was brought in bad faith and was undermined by a gift shop he set up in London.
Banksy and his company, Pest Control Office, successfully filed for a trademark in 2014 for the famous “flower thrower” image he created in 2003 and was put up in Jerusalem, which features a man in a black hoodie and hat throwing a bouquet of flowers instead of a grenade.
But British-based greeting card company Full Colour Black used the image and claimed to have full rights to use it due to Banksy’s long-running anonymity in the art world and his inability to capitalize off the filing in a reasonable timeframe, The Guardian reported.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled last week to revoke Banksy’s trademark for the painting.
“Banksy has chosen to remain anonymous and, for the most part, to paint graffiti on other people’s property without their permission, rather than to paint it on canvases or his own property,” the panel said.
Banksy went on to set up a gift shop called Gross Domestic Product in the London neighborhood of Croydon, last year, saying opening a store was “possibly the least poetic reason to ever make some art,” in effect thumbing their nose at the EUIPO and Full Colour Black. Among the items sold at the store are products featuring "flower thrower."
“A greetings card company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art,” Banksy said in a statement. “And attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally.”
The EUIPO said that Banksy's shop was undermining the severity of the case and said Bansky's “intention was not to use the mark as a trademark to commercialise goods ... but only to circumnavigate the law. These actions are inconsistent with honest practices.”
In order to keep their trademark, Banksy must reveal their identity, prove it, and then refile for trademarks of the work in their portfolio.
Banksy’s representatives, Pest Control Office, have not returned Inside Edition Digital’s request for comment.
Banksy's irreverent work has been seen and put up around the world including places like the Gaza Strip, New York City, London, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.