OMG! What picture do I post?!
A trademark application has been filed, and granted, by French fashion company Early Flicker for the use of both the logo and slogan used by legendary hacktivist group Anonymous. While the trademark in question was granted by Institut National De La Propriete Industrielle (INPI) back in February, this issue has only been brought to light this week via Twitter user Asher_Wolf who obtained a PDF copy of the trademark. Early Flicker had an eBay store selling Anonymous-themed T-shirts.
As you would expect, Anonymous was not pleased at the idea of someone claiming ownership over the group’s branding and has demanded the trademark be revoked and a public apology made.
The manager of Early Flicker attempted to explain the methods behind the madness stating that “Early Flicker The company is a small company offering people to customize various objects in the image of countries, characters or ideas they advocate. Profits are minimal, we only sell 2 or 3 items per day but the idea was friendly, playful and excited me.” (as translated from French via Google). The lengthy missive concludes “I currently exchange with one of the support committees of France Anonymous, at their request, I will do what they please in the interest of the movement.” (translation) You can read the entire post yourself on pickapop.fr. The very fact that the web site is online lends credit to this claim.
So… here’s what I don’t get: Why would a company savvy enough to know of, and understand the reach of, Anonymous be so brazen as to trademark the group’s symbols AND THEN sell the resulting merchandise online? Free publicity? Quick cash (at least before the tech support bills roll in)? Dumb enough to play with e-fire? Perhaps something more sinister is at play…
The whole event seems far too perfect. A commercial venture trademarking the coda and creed of a high profile online activist group known for standing against the trademark and patent system? Anonymous practically has no other option but to retaliate.
Could this situation be a “honey pot” ploy to capture a few members of the notorious hacker group? Is it a coincidence that the headquarters for Interpol, who has co-ordinated crackdowns against Anonymous before, is based in Lyon, France? Is it simply, as Early Flicker maintains, business as usual.
Only time will tell… Or will it? Drama! Stay tuned to your favorite tech news site for the thrilling conclusion of ‘Jar Jar or Ackbar’!