This article first appeared in World Intellectual Property Review, published by Newton Media Ltd.
Trademarks and advertising are often synonymous with communication. Since they usually transmit a message to consumers, it is necessary that this message respects its recipients’ feelings. In other words, trademark owners and advertisers must be in compliance with rules of public morality.
Article 14, paragraph 1 letter a. of the Italian Code on Industrial Property provides that: “The following shall not be registered as trademarks: a) signs that are contrary to the law, public policy or accepted principles of public morality.”
A similar provision is included in article 7, paragraph 1, letter f of the EU trademark regulation (number 2017/1001). The provisions preclude the registration of a trademark when it concerns a sign that may be perceived as contrary to the fundamental moral standards of the society.