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World Renowned Street Artist Banksy Wins Trademark Infringement Fight

Many people and art enthusiasts alike are familiar with England-based street artist Banksy. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humor with graffiti in a distinct stenciling technique that is often easily recognizable.

Though being such a well-known artist with his works displayed in exhibitions around the world, Banksy prefers to be an anonymous figure rather than having his real name (and face) displayed to the world. Not only that, but the artist has also expressed very strong opinions on copyright laws as well. If you happen to own a copy of his book, Wall and Piece you will find he wrote, “copyright is for losers,”— a mantra he maintained until only recently.

In late 2018, a trademark infringement lawsuit was brought against the Mudec Museum by Banksy’s authentication handling service, Pest Control. Though Banksy hasn’t been shy about his disdain for the capitalist validation of art, he discovered a recent and rapidly growing worldwide market for bootleg artworks and “knick-knacks” that imitate his distinctive style. Not only that, but in recent years there have been several unauthorized Banksy exhibitions all around the world. In response, he listed the ten exhibitions and wrote, “Members of the public should be aware there has been a recent spate of Banksy exhibitions, none of which are consensual. They’ve been organized entirely without the artist’s knowledge or involvement. Please treat them accordingly.”

The exhibition targeted by Banksy’s lawsuit, “A Visual Protest: Art of Banksy,” opened in November 2018 and runs through April of 2019. It showcases authenticated works from Banksy including prints, sculptures and paintings, as well as Banksy merchandise in the museum’s gift shop.

The judge ultimately ruled in favor of Banksy requiring the removal of all unofficial merchandise from the museum’s gift shop, but denied Banksy’s additional request for the exhibition to cease the utilization of promotional materials bearing his name. The court declared it would be impossible for the museum to promote the exhibition without these materials.

Houston Trademark Infringement Attorneys

Trademarks can protect certain types of intellectual property, preventing other individuals or businesses from profiting off your distinct brand. Trademark laws can protect symbols, words, designs, phrases, names, and logos. Registering your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office protects it from being used without your consent for ten years and can be renewed after that.

Having a trusted brand means consumers feel confident to buy products or services because they know what to expect. Trademark laws prevent unfair competition by protecting the elements making your brand unique.

At Adair Myers Graves Stevenson, we have extensive experience in both filing for trademark protection and enforcing existing trademarks for businesses of all sizes. The name of your business and its logo, and other potentially trademarked items, may be the most valuable assets your business owns, so don’t let others take advantage of your hard work. Contact us today if you would like to talk to one of our attorneys about registering a trademark or if you are concerned your trademarks are being infringed upon.