The street artist known for stating “Copyright is for losers” has successfully pursued legal proceedings against an Italian Museum for … trade mark infringement.
The exhibition is just one of many unauthorised exhibitions showcasing the artist’s work, with the reproduction of his iconic pieces for merchandise and promotional material being the matter of contention.
Pest Control, the handling service of Banksy’s artwork, enforced trade mark rights over the Banksy name and two iconic pieces. It was found that the merchandise did amount to trade mark infringement, however this did not extend to the promotional material, as this was considered informative to describe the exhibition.
What is most interesting about this matter, is that in concealing his identity, Banksy limits his ability to enforce Copyright. Further, his deliberate opposition to using his brand in market puts him at risk of failing to show use. It seems the Pest Control team need to work on an IP strategy moving forward in order to protect the commercial side of his art.. even if that is considered to go against his anti-establishment messages.