European Union consumers could soon indulge in “Dr No” cars, cigarettes and designer clothes after the EU’s court ruled today that the American firm which manages the rights to the James Bond films has no legal control over the name.
US media firm Danjaq “has failed to establish either that the signs ‘Dr No’ and ‘Dr NO’ were used as trade marks or that the title of the film Dr No was used in the course of trade,” the EU’s Luxembourg-based Court of First Instance said in a statement.
As a result, German media company Mission Productions, based in Munich, is allowed to register the term “Dr No” as an EU-wide trademark, the court ruled.
“I don’t want to ride on the James Bond wave,” said company owner Archibald Eser.
The case dates back to 2001, when Mission Productions applied to register the name of the first-ever Bond film with the EU’s trademark office, OHIM. Danjaq tried to block the registration, but OHIM rejected its suit.
The EU court decision upheld that ruling, arguing that the name “Dr No” is the artistic title of a single film, rather than the commercial identifier of a series of films, such as the 007 logo.
Since the original OHIM ruling, a shaken but unstirred Danjaq has registered the names of 18 Bond films as trade marks in Europe.
Three—Casino Royale, Octopussy and GoldenEye—are being disputed by other firms.
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