Public order in Estonia
We’ll be honest: we couldn’t have predicted this at Chiever! In June this year, the Situ logo, an application for software products by Australian company Situ Systems, was rejected by the European trademark office EUIPO. The reason? Situ means Sh*t in Estonia. According to the EUIPO, Situ is therefore contrary to public order, and the trademark will not receive a European registration.
EUIPO indicates that it is not easy to determine whether a trademark in the EU is contrary to public policy: “The Office should not refuse to register a trade mark which is likely to offend only a small minority of exceptionally puritanical citizens. Similarly, it should not allow a trademark on the register simply because it would not offend the equally small minority at the other end of the spectrum who find even gross obscenity acceptable”, according to EUIPO.
Vulgar and offensive
In this case, the trademark office has no doubt: Estonia’s general public will find Situ vulgar and highly offensive. So no European registration for the Australians.
Setting the bar too high?
I feel sorry for the Australians who had of course no idea when they came up with this brand. In any case, the refusal is in line with the system of EU trademark registration: it must be correct in all countries. However, I wonder if the bar isn’t set too high here. Is Sh*t Really “highly offensive” to Estonians? And for how many Estonians? But maybe my approach is a bit too clouded by the Dutch lens; in the Netherlands it’s not unusual to hear the word Sh*t in all sorts of circumstances daily.
# To clarify, we’re not writing Sh*t in this way because we’re also shocked by this brand or the translation, but rather to avoid our blog getting stuck in a strict spam filter somewhere.