„Je suis Charlie“ will not be a trademark in France


The French Trademark Office “L'Institut national de la propriété industrielle (INPI) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) refuseregistrations of the slogan „Je suis Charlie“.”

An image of the slogan "Je suis Charlie" was posted on Twitter by Joachim Roncin, a French artist and music journalist for Stylist Magazine, one hour after the massacre took place 7 January 2015 in Paris. Roncin says he created the image because he lacked words. Already two days after the attack, the image of the slogan had become one of the most popular news hashtags on Twitter. The slogan “Je suis Charlie” was embraced worldwide, it was used in music, displayed in print and animated cartoons, and became the new name of a town square in France. Not even a week later, the French Trademark office had over 50 applications of trademark containing the words “Je suis Charlie”. But the INPI expects that the slogan is not distinctive as a trademark. Also, the profitable use of this solidarity manifestation can be seen as a infringement to public policy and to accepted infringement to public policy. It is being argued that, the slogan belongs is “public domain” because it is a part of French/International History and therefore cannot be used to make profit. Similar thoughts are being made by the OHIM, which refuses Community Trademark applications with the same content. Even though INPI and OHIM may not register the slogan as a trademark, other offices around the world may decide differently. Therefore, legal uncertainties remain.