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Intellectual Property of Pepe Frog

In the anti-amendment case, Pepe, a cartoon character representing a cartoon character, recently opened a limited-time store in Central, causing a stir, and the copyright issue of Pepe frog has attracted speculation from all parties.

The cause of the incident, there are rumors on the Internet that the company responsible for the pepe Pop up store in Central and officially authorized to produce Pepe frog products is owned by a company with a Chinese background.

A pepe Store spokesperson said that they obtained the Hong Kong agency in early 2019 after contacting the original author Matt Furie directly, and insisted that it was "established and managed by Hong Kong people."

Pepe Frog's trademark

In fact, many people have discovered the "®" symbol used in related pepe products and advertisements, indicating that the product trademark has been registered. If you search the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department's trademark online search system based on the categories related to the products sold in the current pop up store, no one has been found to apply for a trademark with the same font as "pepe" in English capital letters. On the contrary, the search system records show that there is an item of "PEPE" in English capital letters in the category 25 goods registration record.

Since the search system will display all trademark application records up to two days ago, it is believed that no one has applied for "pepe" in small letters.

We estimate that due to the above registered trademark of "pepe" in capital letters, the application of "pepe" in small letters will have a high risk of rejection, and the agency company will therefore avoid applying for "pepe" in small letters.

Use of ® symbol

According to Article 94 of the Hong Kong Trademarks Ordinance, anyone who falsely states that a sign is a registered trademark unless it is proved that the reference refers to a registration outside Hong Kong and that the trademark is actually registered for the goods or services in question. It is a crime and can be fined upon conviction.

Since we have already searched in Hong Kong, we searched the Global Brand Database (Global Brand Database), but we still haven't found a registered record of "pepe" in small letters.

Even the trademark applications filed by the original author Matt Furie are actually just "Pepe the Frog", not the "pepe" trademark in small letters. Therefore, the agency company's use of the ® symbol on its products and advertisements is really suspicious of its purpose and legal consequences. In addition, the record search results of the Hong Kong Trademark Search System found that the trademark of the pepe frog design was applied for registration by a company named Momo Entertainment Ltd.

Trademark application has not yet been paid

According to the website of the Intellectual Property Department (as of December 28, 2019), its trademark status is "application received, no fees paid", meaning that its Hong Kong trademark registration fee has not yet been paid. If the applicant does not pay the application fee when submitting the trademark registration application, the Registry will issue a notice to remind the applicant and require the applicant to pay the fee within two months, and the submission date will not be recorded. Therefore, the relevant trademark has not yet entered the application review process.

A series of trademarks

In addition, the search system records showed that the trademark of the pepe frog design was applied for registration by a company named Momo Entertainment Ltd. The pepe frog design trademark application filed by Momo Entertainment Ltd is a series of trademark applications. According to Article 51 (3) of the Trademarks Ordinance, a series of trademarks refers to more than 1 trademarks that are similar in important terms, and these trademarks only have aspects that are not related to distinctive features that have no significant impact on the essence of the trademarks. difference. In addition, according to the work manual of the Trademark Registry, the documents related to a series of trademarks explained that if the postures and/or facial expressions of the cartoon characters in each trademark are different, if the postures and facial expressions are not the cartoon characters in the series The main distinctive features of and these trademarks will be considered to be the same cartoon character before they can constitute a series. In the pepe frog design trademark application, the facial expressions of the four pepe are different, which may not conform to the principles of a series of trademarks.

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