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World Trademark Review has learned that the registrant behind a German trademark for the term THE PANAMA PAPERS has been threatened with legal action by the two journalists involved in the unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of law firm Mossack Fonseca. While the registrant has since agreed to withdraw the mark, he remains steadfast that he alone "was the only one who had seen the potential in the Panama Papers name".
A Munich-based marketer has applied for a trademark in Germany for the term ‘The Panama Papers’, with plans to write a movie and sell merchandise related to the unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of law firm Mossack Fonseca. An IP expert tells us that if the application progresses to the opposition stage, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists will need to rely on unregistered rights if it seeks to prevent its registration by a third party.
The challenge of protecting fictional brand names has previously been discussed in WTR. An oft-used case study is the fictional Duff Beer, which features in TV show The Simpsons. The show’s owner, 21st Century Fox, has faced numerous companies launching Duff Beer in the real world and this week announced it was entering the beer market in Chile, partly as a bid to fight off third-party use of the brand. The company also announced that it plans to rollout Duff Beer in Europe, but a number of challenges lie ahead.
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