Allah as a Trademark?

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A Dutch artist has failed in his attempt to trademark ‘Allah’. Amsterdam resident Teun Castelein considered Allah to be an incredibly beautiful name. He had submitted a request to register a logo, featuring the name in gothic black type upon a white background, for leather goods and clothing under classes 18, 25 and 26.Hoever, The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) has provisionally rejected his trademark application. The artist argues that he has no intention in offending the religious sentiments, but is infact exploring the boundaries of free market. The mark has been rejected on the ground that it lacks distinctive character. However, it is quite surprising to note that the same IP office (BOIP) has on earlier occasions granted registration for the marks JESUS, GOD, BUDDHA, AJAX and MEKKA .
The artist now has three months to file a response before the trademark office. According to the artists attorney, Allah should be a valid trademark as, despite of the general meaning, it has distinctive character for the products in the application (clothing etc.)
The trademark office is however not justified in its part in adopting different standards for similar situation. Trademarks that affect/ hurt the religious sentiments of people cannot be registered. Moreover, no one can be allowed to claim monopoly over a mark that is so common among the public. What will be the trademark office’s final decision? We will keep you posted.
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