Hasbro loses the rights to Monopoly

Hasbro loses the rights to Monopoly

Hasbro was partially invalidated its rights regarding the European registration of the Monopoly trademark, after the Court of the European Union found that their archiving strategies were aimed at avoiding having to prove their correct use.

In a ruling, issued Wednesday, April 21, the Tribunal upheld a previous decision by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which believed Hasbro had acted in bad faith. The sentence was handed down following a lawsuit brought by a Croatian boardgames seller, Kreativni Događaji, seeking the annulment of an EU “Monopoly” trademark registered in 2011.

Second the Court, the trademark filed by Hasbro in 2011, was identical, in some products and services, to the previous Monopoly brands. The purpose of the new registration would therefore have been to avoid demonstrating its effective use, according to what was established by the EUIPO in 2019. According to the laws of the European Union, the rights on registered trademarks granted by the EUIPO may also be invalidated, if the owner is unable to prove effective use five years after the registration of the trademark.

The EUIPO resolution, in this case invalidated the Monopoly trademark for products and services in classes 9, 16 , 28 and 41, which include games and entertainment. Hasbro obviously appealed to the Court of the European Union, arguing that Monopoly was so famous, that imagining a lack of use of the brand in relation to games was "at least imaginative".

Hasbro argues that the request to prove the use of this trademark in relation to board games in order to avoid invalidation would entail significant additional costs for them, justifying a possible wave of similar cases, which it would risk "literally submerging" the EUIPO. However, the court rejected these arguments, relying on important evidence that Hasbro acted in bad faith, effectively confirming the decision of the EUIPO.

According to what was reported in the ruling, Hasbro would have admitted, during the proceedings, that "one of the advantages that justified the filing of the contested trademark was not having to provide proof of the actual use of that trademark", further stating that it was a "common and accepted" practice in the sector . However, the Court denied Hasbro that the fact of asserting, without further evidence in favor, that it is a common practice and recommended by their lawyers does not invalidate the bad faith in putting it into practice, as it is expressly prohibited.
The Court of the European Union also sentenced Hasbro to pay the legal costs incurred by Kreativni Događaji during the proceedings before the EUIPO.