In July 2022, the European trademark office EUIPO told Selenski’s applicant, the Frankfurt company Cyfire, that it would not register the trademark because it is contrary to public order. Cyfire didn’t accept the decision and appealed. Recently, on January 11th, 2023, the Board of Appeal made the predictable decision: the Selenski beer brand will not receive European trademark protection.
Link with Russian attack
EUIPO believes the public associates the Selenski brand with the Ukrainian president and, therefore, with the horrors of the Russian attack on Ukraine. According to EUIPO, the argument that the trademark is written with an S and not with a Z is irrelevant: the name of the president has many spellings in Europe: Zelensky (English), Zelenski (Spanish), Zelenskyj (German) or Zelenskyj (Swedish).
Taking advantage of a tragedy
According to EUIPO, using the Selenski trademark for food and beer trivialises Zelensky and the Russian attack on Ukraine. Moreover, if those involved came across a can of beer or a chocolate bar with the Selenski brand in the supermarket, they might take offence or, even worse, seeing it could trigger panic or fear. In short, a trademark that tries to take advantage of a tragedy does not get into the register. End of story.