Early Flicker Trademarks Anonymous Logo

Anonymous Logo / Emblem

I found out today (via TechDirt via Asher_Wolf) that a French company called Early Flicker has applied to trademark the Anonymous logo.

Besides the fact that this is probably a really bad idea, it goes to show how immoral people can be. Indeed trying to protect a logo from being used by others is one thing if you are the creator/owner of that logo, doing so for a logo created by others is probably as low as it gets when it comes to trademarking.

The Anonymous emblem is already in the public domain, so anyone is allowed to use it for any purpose without any conditions.

Early Flicker sells via Ebay but apparently operates pickapop.fr. I never heard of them before today and would of course avoid them, it's quite low to try to privatise public property.

Update: There are 2 brands that have been registered. You can view them in the INPI website by going to bases-marques.inpi.fr and searching for "Anonymous" or by numbers, 3897980 and 3897981. If you feel the courage you can click on "Signalez une erreur sur cette notice" to report the issue to the INPI (thanks Rike for the update).

Pickapock.fr screenshot

Update 2: The owner of pickapop.fr has replied by replacing the content of their website with this message (copied to Pastebin because..). The short version is that Auffret claims that he had no bad intentions and proof is that he has not sued anyone. He also goes on to saying that he could have used CC or some other license etc etc.

I think it's just a lame attempt to recover from all the negative attention he's been getting over the past few days. The fact that he hasn't bothered/sued/etc anyone looks more like an attempt to try to keep the fact that he did register the brand secret.

Update 3: I just called the INPI, they told me that trademarking something in the public domain is legal as long as it contains an extra element. In this case, the logo itself is not protected by this trolling trademark, however the Anonymous logo and the text Anonymous
We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.
together is proteced by French trademark law.

Update 4: After a discussion on IRC between Anonymous and Apollinaire Auffret from Early Flicker, Auffret agreed to let go of both trademarks 3897980 and 3897981 registered at the INPI (Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle).



Searching for this item :

Numéro : 3897981
Statut : Marque enregistrée
Date de dépôt / Enregistrement : 2012-02-16

it appears that it has been registered by the INPI (Institut national de la propriété intellectuelle).

I wonder if it is possible to ask them for an explanation.


I asked INPI for an explanation via email. We'll see if they answer.


"I see a lot of traffic spikes in their future", to paraphrase a famous film line. :)

manu - http://manurevah.com

Rike, thanks for the info, I updated the post and even translated to French (probably many mistakes).

It looks like they actually completed the registration in February. If the INPI does not revoke their registration then the system broken.

Nux, if they do get a spike in traffic, I hope it's not from paying customers. :]


After your update, what I don't get is, that Auffret doesn't revoke the registration at INPI. He could probably do that.


Good thing that those trademarks were let go.

But that got me thinking - even if it were licensed under CC or all copyrights removed, copyright law doesn't have anything to do with trademarks?

For example, the Opera logo is apparently in the public domain [1], yet I wouldn't be able to use it for a company because it's trademarked.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Opera_O.svg

manu - http://manurevah.com

First, we have to wait and see if they do let it go.

The thing is that if the logo is in the public domain then you can't stop anyone else from using it in any way they want, hence the trademark would be void. The loophole is to add something to it.

If the logo is CC with permission to copy/modify and use commercially, then that changes slightly I guess, but that would require more expertise than mine.

Opera's logo isn't copyrighted but it could still be trademarked, so you can use it but not as a branding design, you probably also cannot use another "O" for a brand that produces anything similar, even if your product's full name is "Ohblahblabha". The letter "O" by itself seems to be the trademark.


Just for the sake of completeness: actually INPI did not answer me. However Manu called them and they said that you may trademark everything as long as you add something. Auffret trademarked not the anonymous log itself apparently, but the logo together with tha anonymous slogan, written under the logo.
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