Banksy Had to Open a Merch Store to Stop a Greeting Card Company From Using His Name
Since the early 1990s, Banksy has enjoyed defying convention not only through his street art but also by refusing to reveal his identity. While the anonymous creator has thus far been able to keep up his cloak, he has found himself needing to accept at least a bit of normalcy through the use-it-or-lose-it guideline. Having thus far refused to use his trademark to market merchandise, the secretive figure decided to open a store to fend off a greeting card’s attempt to bank on the Banksy name.
People who like for art to be clear-cut, easily decipherable and safe would find in the England-based individual a definite source of disdain, as he customarily aims to issue thought-provoking pieces. While that mindset has helped to make admirers even more eager to discover his name, it has not inspired Banksy to release any goods affiliated with his trademark, and, thus, he now has to serve “not a very sexy muse” by “making stuff for the sole purpose of fulfilling trademark categories under EU law.”
Doing so will yield an unconventional—did you expect otherwise?—storefront that will feature but not sell the merchandise results of his trademark-saving campaign. They will be available via online sales, with the London destination, dubbed Gross Domestic Product, soon to sell the Banksy items through the web.
For now, then, those who head to London will fix their peepers upon the works that, though fashioned to avoid the loss of the Banksy trademark, will not come across as subpar for anyone with an affinity for his originality, as he remains “as anti-establishment as ever,” according to Esquire. Regardless of whether you admire, loathe or even know about Banksy, his situation offers a lesson in the power of trademarks. The artist has chosen to guard his identity, but in securing a name to market himself, he has become the holder of a trademark and thus needs to make use of it. As his lawyer noted, if a trademark holder is not using the acquired protection, someone who promises to use it can request a transfer of the name.
Banksy will, therefore, cave to normalcy but for only two weeks. One wonders, then, what his next move will be following the shuttering of the store. No matter what the mysterious generator has planned, he is already serving as a reminder that if people notice that a trademark has gone dormant, they have every right to chase it and subsequently make money off it if they secure it.