Author: Tom Broadhurst
In this second ART IP post I consider the intellectual property law underlying art crossing over to trade marks and brands.
Art has always reflected the world and the artist and so has always included commercial business and its brands from the incidental inclusion, for example the incorporation of the first UK registered trade marks the red Bass triangles for pale ale in Manet’s A Bar at the Folies Bergère
to the explicit inclusion as the main subject matter of the art, for example in Warhol’s ‘32 Campbell’s Soup Cans’ or the Coca Cola cans in Pedro Campos ‘Hot Day III’
Business has always reversed this flow of art from its branding and trade marks into fine art, so business uses lots of good art to contribute to its valuable brands.
Consider a simple chocolate mint wafer – how much art and intellectual property (IP) can you pack into its branding? The answer is a lot. Take a masterpiece of French ornate clock making from the time of Louis XIV; craft a strong evocative brand phrase name; adjust the clock to show the correct time for your brand phrase, make a graphical abstract of the clock in gold, place it all on powerful shades of green as a back drop (to my really poor eye for colour something like from Pantone 19-5408 TPX to 16-5412 TPX), and team it all up with some tempting photorealism style of the wafer peeking out of its packaging and what do you get? You get this powerful trade mark for After Eight® Société des Produits Nestlé S.A:
Note that the abstract clock on the wafer’s wrapper above still faithfully records the important time as just post 20:00 hours as do other trade marks for the brand, such as this UK trade mark.
Art can be a powerful backdrop to a design well shown in this pretty and appealing “j” Community trade mark for drinks vending machines ® Smiths News Trading Limited:
Art can also enter deeper into the graphical heart of brand for example becoming part of a letter mark and tying in the famous skyline of the Houses of Parliament into the brand as in this UK trade mark ® H.J. Heinz Foods UK Limited
So brands go into art and art and IP (in the form of trade marks) go into brands, long live all forms of Brand Art and not just what it says on the tin.