Rights to the works of Vigeland and Munch

Grette assists and represents the City of Oslo in a complex case against the Norwegian Industrial Property Office. The City of Oslo has managed the rights of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland and the painter Edvard Munch, both of whom were Norwegians of worldwide fame. They died in 1943 and 1944, respectively, and the copyrights on their works expired in 2014 and 2015. In order to avoid a situation in which other parties might exploit their works in any manner whatsoever, and in order to enable the City of Oslo to continue and expand its commercial utilisation of the works of the two artists, the City of Oslo applied for registration of a number of trademarks comprising a representation of some of their iconic works. The Norwegian Industrial Property Office refused registration, with one of the arguments invoked being that trademark registration would imply perpetual copyright to the works in the form of trademark rights. The City of Oslo appealed the decision to the Norwegian Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights (KFIR). KFIR referred certain questions to the EFTA Court in Luxemburg, which rendered its opinion on 6 April 2017. An oral hearing was held before KFIR on 25 April 2017, and the case is still pending. The case has commanded considerable attention, both in the media and amongst trademark experts.

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