Keep Calm and Carry On (#$&!@!) a Trademark Dispute 4

A trademark dispute is brewing around the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Contrary to the intention of the phrase… kc01Thumbnailfolks in the UK are fighting over the exclusive right to own the phrase as a registered EU trademark.

The phrase originated as part of a government propaganda campaign in the UK during World War II (not very popular at the time) and has morphed into a marketing phenomenon within the last decade. Evidently, a long-forgotten propaganda poster was rediscovered by a bookshop owner in England thirteen years ago. Upon discovery, the bookshop owner framed and hung the poster in his shop, Barter Books… and customers began noticing the catchy phrase on the poster… and the bookshop owner began creating and selling merchandise. Then along came another Englishman who trademarked the phrase within the EU and began creating and selling more merchandise. (See Application No. 010494441). Hence the brouhaha begins.

Barter Books has challenged the EU trademark registration of the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On”… claiming that the trademark registration is an unjust monopoly over a piece of history. The legal opposition to cancel the trademark registration should be decided soon. In the meantime… please remember to heed the warning to Keep Calm and Carry On.

For more information: Check out Barter Books at and; EU Community trademarks can be searched at:; @iplegalfreebies and

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq. LL.M


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