Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 2 December 2020

Banksy suffers 'devastating' defeat in battle over most famous artwork

Street artist once wrote 'copyright is for losers' – and now he's a lost a trademark battle

Banksy is unperturbed by his work the 'Flower Thrower' being used as an emblem of protest; he is less keen on it being moentised by corporations. EPA
Banksy is unperturbed by his work the 'Flower Thrower' being used as an emblem of protest; he is less keen on it being moentised by corporations. EPA

Banksy has lost the trademark on one of his signature creations, a ruling that could set a precedent for other works in the UK street artist's oeuvre.

The Bristol-born cult hero applied for copyright on Flower Thrower in 2014, nine years after he first created it on a wall in Bethlehem.

The gallery below depicts Banksy's work in the West Bank and Gaza.

Somewhat, ironically the work featured on the cover of his 2006 book Wall and Piece, in which Banksy ridicules copyright laws and exhorts his fans to download his works for non-commercial purposes.

But card makers Full Colour Black failed to adhere to this caveat leading to a two-year legal battle over trademarks, which Banksy has now lost

“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 canvasses or his own property," the EU Intellectual Property Office panel said.

“He has also chosen to be very vocal regarding his disdain for intellectual property rights.

"It must be pointed out that another factor worthy of consideration is that he cannot be identified as the unquestionable owner of such works as his identity is hidden.

"It further cannot be established without question that the artist holds any copyrights to graffiti.”

The panel said that should the secretive artist ever wish to apply for copyright patents for his other artworks, he would struggle to do so while maintaining his fiercely guarded cloak of anonymity.

Aaron Mills of Blaser Mills represented the victorious Full Colour Black in the battle, and was quick to put the boot in, describing the ruling as a "devastating" blow for Banksy.

Updated: September 17, 2020 04:40 PM

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