The Anonymous logo is not for sale

Anonymous is vehemently anti-copyright. So when news emerged that French firm Early Flicker had sought to trademark the headless man logo, already freely available under a Creative Commons license, it was not amused. An Anonymous video threatened to ‘take-down any business they have going on the internet, and the 99% will not stop until the registration has been revoked and a public apology has been made.”

The first step was the traditional ‘dox’ on Pastebin – the publication of personal details including home address, and personal and business email addresses and phone numbers. It was enough. Early Flicker closed its website and replaced it with an explanatory letter. In essence, the company was not seeking to profit from the registration, but to protect its own use of the logo on its commercial tee-shirts (which it could already do under the Creative Commons license). The letter accepts that it would have been wiser to seek prior approval from Anonymous, “but by definition Anonymous has no authority [to] contact.”

The letter adds that the company is in touch with ‘France Anonymous’, and “I will do what they please in the interest of the movement.” The site will return once the dispute is resolved.

Forbes has now reported that “French patent office INPI, or Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle, has admitted that Early Flicker’s trademark filing might not be legally valid if it is in conflict with prior rights — which it may well be.” INPI told Forbes, “INPI cannot assess the validity of a trademark against other signs (e.g., logos) which are not governed by trademark law.” So the trademark is registered, but may not be legally valid. “This is a matter for courts of law to resolve,” it added.

It looks, however, as if Early Flicker and Anonymous are sorting it out between themselves.

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