The flood of brands " YELLOW VILTETS "
Since mid-November, the INPI has been overwhelmed by applications for almost identical trademarks. Indeed, in the space of a few weeks, many YELLOW VILTETS trademarks have been registered. These trademarks are not all strictly identical: they can be found in the singular and plural, verbal or semi-figurative, or also in combination with other words (FIER D'ETRE GILET YELLOW VEST, JE SUIS GILET YELLOW VEST...). Today, there are 38 published registrations, to which must be added the trademarks registered but not yet published. It is not possible to know the total number of registrations made at the moment. Here is therefore our analysis of the published filings.
Who registered the first YELLOW VILTETS trademark?
Surprisingly, the first trademark registered at the INPI dates back to 2008. It is the trademark "MY YELLOW VEST."(FR) Mr President, I should like to draw your attention to the proposal by Mrs Claudine BUCOURT, tabled by Mrs Claudine BUCOURT, which concerns various products and services, in particular clothing. The applicant, apparently a visionary, had registered this trademark to sell personalized yellow vests. But it would seem that the trademark, registered 10 years ago, was not renewed in time. It would therefore no longer be valid.
Among the YELLOW VILTETS brands of 2018, the fastest applicant is a Parisian company. It is called ANED ANATOME and registered the trademark "GILET YELLOW" on November 13th. It only covers services in class 35, which is logical as the company is a communication agency.
From 13 November onwards, the number of deposits multiplied: with almost one new deposit every day. Among the brands to be mentioned, the brand "GILET JAUNE OU GIL ET JOHN" is an example of originality. There is also a rather surprising brand name "LES GILETS JAUNES (OFFICIEL)", even though the movement is not yet fully structured.
The existence of these numerous trademarks poses legal difficulties, in particular because the trademark in principle allows a monopoly on a term to be asserted.
What are the products and services covered by the YELLOW VILETS brands?
Because of the principle of specialty, a trademark is protected only for the goods and services included in its wording. A priori, two identical trademarks may coexist if they cover different goods and services. However, in the case of YELLOW VILTETS trademarks, identical classes are very often found. Among the goods, the most common classes are: 9 (probably for software), 18 (bags and other leather goods) and 25 (clothing). Among the services, the most designated is class 35, which covers advertising and communication services.
Some applicants appear to have food plans. Similarly, there are YELLOW VILTETS trademarks that refer to alcoholic beverages, others refer to toys or jewellery. Most of the deposits were made without a professional agent.In most cases, the wording of trademarks is very vague and does not allow the applicant's activity to be identified. Thus, the trademark FIER D'ETRE UN GILET JAUNE, which designates goods and services in 5 different classes, covers "clothing" as well as "engraved works of art" or "material planing" or "taxidermy" services.
The YELLOW VILTETS brands, a political recovery tool?
Some trademark registrations pursue a political objective. This is sometimes clearly stated. This is the case of the trademark "LISTE GILETS JAUNES Elections Européennes de 2019", registered by a certain Alain GUILLON. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find the information. Thus, the trademark "LES GILETS JAUNES" was registered on 30 November 2018 (just before Act III) by Mr Joeffrey Bollée. Does this name mean anything to you? It is the chief of staff to Florian Philippotfounder of the extreme right-wing movement "Les Patriotes". One may question the transparency of this deposit, since it was not made in the name and on behalf of the party, but in a personal capacity.
In any case, it will be difficult to appropriate the term YELLOW VILT to name a political movement, given the very large number of deposits made. In principle, rights arise with the deposit: therefore the first depositors can oppose the following ones. But these steps are not free of charge, and one must ask oneself whether it is appropriate to invest so much in a word that is now part of everyday language.
In addition, it is also possible that the INPI simply does not validate these deposits. This had been the case for the "I am Charlie" or "I am Paris" brands. Following the events of November 13, the INPI had justified its choice by stating that "these trademarks are composed of terms that cannot be captured by an economic actor because of their use and their perception by the community".