Regional Colas are the new craze! Following Breizh Cola, Corsica Cola, Provença Cola, Vendée Cola and many others carrying the name of a region, Parisians are next in line to have their own cola, and even a choice between “Paris Cola” and “ParisgoCola”. They will be released simultaneously this month by two different companies, which, having failed to reach an agreement, have applied for their respective trademarks!
Both of the new Parisian colas have packagings featuring not only the name “Paris” but also an image of the famous Eiffel Tower:
Click here to view image.
The use of these elements, undoubtedly chosen by the companies for their attractiveness and popularity, comes with certain rules which are important to note.
The name of a local authority, such as Paris, can be included in a trademark provided it is not detrimental to “the name, image or reputation” of the said local authority, as outlined in article L 711-4 h) of the French Intellectual Property Code.
The City of Paris is ever watchful and gets actively involved in the defense of its rights! For example, the City obtained a cancellation of the trademarks “Paris 2012”, “Paris 2016/Paris 2020” etc., “Paris l’été” (Paris in the summer), “PARIS-SANSFIL” (PARIS WIRELESS) as well as the cancellation of domain names and/or related company name, since there was a definite risk of confusion with respect to functions exercised by the City of Paris, or when the disputed signs were considered to be detrimental to the local authority or to its constituents.
As such, we can only advise that you exercise caution before proceeding with any application of a name containing the word “Paris”. Alternatively, you should seek prior approval from the City of Paris, especially since it now has a policy of distributing licenses for any commercial use of the name “Paris”, regardless of the type of business or the products!
The Eiffel Tower itself also has certain rights! The daytime image is free to be used for commercial purposes provided it is not detrimental to the moral rights of its heirs. This is because the tower, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel and built in 1889, is now in the public domain. However, care should be taken with respect to the name since the City of Paris and the Eiffel Tower operating company (SETE) own trademarks, the most recent of which is the “EIFFEL TOWER” trademark of December 2012 in 26 classes! Furthermore, the lighting effects “aimed at revealing and highlighting the lines and shapes of the Eiffel Tower” constitute “an original visual creation”, and thus an artistic work protected by copyright provisions. It should be noted that the SETE also owns trademark rights on the illuminated Eiffel Tower. As such, any commercial night-time depiction of the Eiffel Tower must have the prior authorization of the SETE.
Finally, does one of the two colas look familiar to you? Caution should always be exercised in order to avoid any risk of a negative reaction. It is better to stay away from communication tools and packaging that are emblematic of the major non-alcoholic drinks.
Let’s wait and see whether Parisians will become “addicted” to the taste of these new colas to the detriment of the American cola giants…