(CN) – Italian law protects famous people from having their names used without express consent, Europe’s high court ruled in a dispute between designer Elio Fiorucci, who gained renown in the 1970s, and a Japanese company that bought his assets.
After experiencing financial difficulties, Fiorucci sold his eponymous company in 1990 to Edwin Co.. giving the Japanese company the entirety of his “creative assets.” Fiorucci objected when Edwin tried to trademark his name in the European Union.
Edwin appealed to the Court of Justice when a lower EU court upheld an interpretation of copyright law preventing such registration.
The Luxembourg-based high court agreed with the lower court, saying that trademark regulations apply to both personal as well as commercial aspects of a name.
Since Fiorucci had established his name as having significance in the business world, any copyright of that name required his permission, the court concluded.
Fiorucci is considered a leader in the “globalization” of fashion, as he cross-pollinated styles across continents in the 1970s.