TRADEMARKS | The General Court on “PABLO ESCOBAR” trademark application

On 17 April 2024, the General Court (GC) of the EU issued its decision in case T-255/23, (Escobar Inc. v EUIPO) refusing registration for the EU trademark application “PABLO ESCOBAR”, deeming it contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality. The GC, providing some useful guidelines for future cases, based its decision on the following grounds: (a) the general public of consumers – which is the correct relevant public for this assessment – would associate the name of Mr. Pablo Escobar with drug trafficking and narco-terrorism; (b) said criminal activities are contrary to the universal values on which the European Union is founded (i.e. right to life and physical integrity; human dignity); (c) the refusal of such a trademark did not violate Mr. Pablo Escobar’s presumption of innocence in that, despite never having been criminally convicted, he is still perceived by the public as a symbol of organised drug-related crime and widely considered responsible for several criminal activities.

Newsletter n. 96 – May 2024