Jewelry and Clothing

The application for trademark registration of the phrase was initially made by Hrybov himself and later taken over by the State Border Guard Service, the coast guard of Ukraine. This organization aims to make the phrase a Europe-wide protected trademark for items such as jewelry, umbrellas, and clothing.

Vulgar Language

In December 2022, EUIPO refused the registration because it was deemed to be in violation of public order. According to EUIPO, it involved “vulgar language with a sexual connotation.” And in Europe, you don’t get trademark registration for that.


It will come as no surprise that the Ukrainian coast guard filed an appeal. Someone who, with a raised middle finger, refuses to surrender to a Russian warship certainly won’t be lectured by the European trademarks office EUIPO from Alicante!

Russian Warschip, go f*ck yourself
Ukraine even issues postage stamps referring to the events at Snake Island


Political Slogan Not Distinctive

But unfortunately for the coast guard, the appeal came to nothing. In fact, in addition to the aforementioned ground for refusal, “contrary to public policy,” in the appeal EUIPO came up with a second ground for refusal. According to EUIPO, the phrase is also not distinctive. The phrase is not associated by the consumer with an economic undertaking; it is not seen as a trademark. On the contrary, it is “a political slogan only associated with a sad historical moment and the heroic fight of a country against an – under public international law – illegal attack.”

European Court

The lawyers representing the Ukrainian coast guard have informed the World Trademark Review website that they are deeply disappointed and find it “painful” to read the decision of the Board of Appeal. They have indicated that the coast guard will appeal to the European Court.

Brexit bier
A European beer brand named ‘Brexit’ has been refused.


But whether that will help is the question. It has become clear that EUIPO (and also the Benelux trademarks office (BOIP)) are not fond of trademark registrations related to historical or political events or processes. With the same arguments as in this case, the registration of the beer brand Brexit was rejected earlier in 2019: Brexit represents the departure of England from the EU; it is not a trademark.

Bas Kist

Image by Фотонак via Wiki Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Bas Kist is mede-oprichter van Merkenbureau Chiever. Hij schrijft regelmatig artikelen over merken- en auteursrecht in de Volkskrant en Adformatie. Daarnaast is hij docent bij de European Institute for Brand management EURIB.