World

EU court rules that principality of Monaco is too well-known to use its name as a trademark

  • An elephant poses with a circus performer during the presentation of the 39th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.The Circus Festival takes place from Jan. 15  to Jan 25. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

    An elephant poses with a circus performer during the presentation of the 39th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.The Circus Festival takes place from Jan. 15 to Jan 25. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)  (The Associated Press)

  • Princess Stephanie of Monaco, center left, poses during the presentation of the 39th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. The Circus Festival takes place from Jan. 15  to Jan 25. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

    Princess Stephanie of Monaco, center left, poses during the presentation of the 39th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. The Circus Festival takes place from Jan. 15 to Jan 25. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union says the tiny principality of Monaco is too famous to trademark its own name.

The EU's General Court on Thursday upheld an EU decision not to allow the wealthy enclave on France's Mediterranean coast to use its name as a trademark on products including photos, printed matter and services linked to entertainment and sporting activities.

The court says the word Monaco "corresponds to the name of a globally-known principality, not least due to the renown of its royal family, its organization of a Formula 1 Grand Prix and its organization of a circus festival."

The World Intellectual Property Organization granted Monaco an international trademark covering the European Union in 2010, but the EU in 2013 refused to accept it. The ruling can be appealed.