Dutch artist's bid to trademark 'Allah' fails

THE HAGUE (AFP) - A Dutch artist has failed in his bid to trademark the name of Allah in an attempt to push the boundaries of the free market, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property said on Monday.

"Provisional decision: rejected," said a document on the BOIP's website after contemporary artist Teun Castelein submitted his request to register the Gothic-style black-on-white typographic logo as a brand on Dec 29.

Mr Castelein told AFP that he had not yet been told any details of the decision from the BOIP, which is headquartered in The Hague.

"As an artist, I'm constantly seeking out the limits of the free market," Mr Castelein said, while claiming that "Jesus" and "God" had been accepted as registered trademarks. "I can only conclude that, according to the BIOP, all religions are not equal. I don't agree, all religions must be treated the same," he said.

The BIOP was not available for comment on Monday.

Chiever, a legal consultancy for brand protection, said it understood the BIOP had rejected the bid because "Allah" lacked "a distinctive character", meaning it would not be recognisable as a specific brand.

"It's surprising that they chose this reason given that names such as 'Jesus' or 'God Fix It' have been registered as trademarks," Chiever consultant Bas Kist told AFP.

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