Trademark confusion about the renaming of the French “Front National”. The right-wing populist party led by Marine Le Pen wants to change its name for reasons of image. It was unclear until recently if the party is allowed adopt the new name “Rassemblement National”.
Marine Le Pen, party leader and presidential candidate in France in 2017, had announced at the recent congress of the “Front National” to change the name of the party. In order to break away from the controversial image of the past and to open up for possible coalitions with the liberal parties, the party should be renamed “Rassemblement National” (which means National Rally). The final decision on the renaming meets the party base in a few weeks in a vote.
Term already used by the “Front National” in 1986
Interestingly, the term “Rassemblement National” was already used in 1986 by Marine Le Pen’s father. Jean Marie Le Pen himself was chairman of the “Front National” from 1972 to 2011. Knowing that the term had been used in the past by the “Front National”, Marine Le Pen had recently claimed that the party had already registered the name “Rassemblement National” as a trademark with the French Patent and Trademark Office (INPI).
However, research by INPI has shown that the mark was not registered by a member of the “Front National” either in 1986 or subsequently.
“Rassemblement National” registered by another political association at INPI
However, in fact, the term is already registered by someone else as a trademark at the INPI for the Nice classes 16, 35 and 41. Namely by another political association called “Rassemblement National”. Igor Kurek, a member of the “RN”, had recently stated on Twitter that the name was already legally protected and thus the “Front National” could “never” adopt the name.
Actually another member of the group holds the naming rights, Frédérick Bigrat. He had the name protected on 30.12.2013 at the INPI.
Anyone who is looking forward to an impending trademark dispute will unfortunately be disappointed. The “Front National” has already negotiated a private contract with Monsieur Bigot on February 22, 2018. In the contract he has promised the transfer of the naming rights of “Rassemblement National”. The original “RN” is currently in the breakup anyway. The official confirmation of the transfer by the INPI is expected in the coming months.
Owner of similar trademarks could appeal
Even if the biggest hurdle to name change is likely to have been skipped from a trademark law perspective, the “Front National” may still have to expect a legal dispute. For the term “Rassemblement National” there are other trademark owners in other goods and services classes in the INPI trademark register. For example, the “Rassemblement national Nin-Jutsu” (the National Nin-Jutsu Assembly) in the Nice Classes 16, 25, 28, 41. These trademark owners may appeal to the use of the trademark by the “Front National” due to possible likelihood of confusion.
Are you interested in brand or trade mark protection?
Please take your chance and contact us. Our lawyers are experienced in trademark and patent law, national and international law.
Text: The IP Kat