Attempt to register Grass as a cigarette brand fails

Tomáš Fránek
15. 9. 2007 23:30
The producer says: I am not selling marihuana
Stubbed out. The authorities will have none of that
Stubbed out. The authorities will have none of that | Foto: Aktuálně.cz

Prague - The Czech Industrial Property Office is refusing to register the trademark Tráva (Grass) for the brand of cigarettes produced by the Taar Company in Veselí nad Lužnicí.

The Office claims such a registration would be against propriety.

The Taar Company has been haggling about the registration of the name for its cigarette label with the Office over one year now. Aktuálně.cz saw a new document from the Czech Industrial Property Office, refusing once again and finally to register the ambiguous brand name.

We are doing nothing illegal

The company based in Southern Bohemia is offering the cigarettes on its web site and would like to sell the cigarettes called "the Grass" in the network of vending machines, but so far it was unsuccessful in its application to have the trademark registered among tobacco products.

The producer claims the name for its cigarettes represents no problem and is not breaching Czech laws.

"It's true the name is slightly exaggerated, but the consumers are confronted with this kind of advertisement all the time. Hemp leave motif is present on a variety of products, including those protected trade marks the Office did not find objectionable in any way," the attorneys for the company say in their official response to the ruling.

A trade in death. With very strict rules
A trade in death. With very strict rules | Foto: Jaroslav Jiřička

The company also says the word Grass/Tráva is in common use. Therefore any possibility of people thinking narcotics would be sold under such a name can be safely ruled out.

Cannabis is all right, then?

"Everybody knows selling marihuana is illegal in the Czech Republic, that's why one really cannot expect such an analogy to enter the minds of our customers," the representatives of the company said.

According to Taar, both the Czech and the European Offices for Harmonisation in the Internal Market have no problem registering trade marks containing the Latin expression for hemp the well known word Cannabis.

According to the data base, both Czech and foreign companies use the brand name that includes the word Cannabis.

The Office Industrial Property Office maintains that other trademark names such as Marihuana are under consideration and the process of their registration has not yet been concluded. Other trademarks, including Koks (Coke) and Happy Joint don't evoke any connection with drugs, it claims.

The Office said that confirming the "Grass" trademark for cigarettes would be against public order.

No, it can´t possibly be...
No, it can´t possibly be... | Foto: Ondřej Besperát, Aktuálně.cz

"Such a labelling would at the very least be associated in people's minds with marihuana-containing cigarettes, and the substance is illegal for these purposes in the Czech Republic," the Office says in its ruling.

Not for cigarettes

The company's line of defence was also rejected by the Czech Industrial Property Office's head, Mr Karel Čada. His decision was based on a decision by an expert commission.

"From the legal point of view the argument claiming alleged exaggeration cannot matter," Mr Čada said.

The Office is of the opinion it would not be right to register this specific trademark, "Grass"/Tráva for cigarettes at the time of continuing public debate about drug use.

"Under the Law the brand name conflicting with public order cannot be entered into the register," that's the conclusion of the Office's ruling.

Nevertheless, the decision by the Czech Industrial Property Office does not stop the company from selling its cigarettes under their proposed brand name; it only means it does not have exclusive entitlement to the trademark "Grass"/Tráva.


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