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Breaking: Rotterdam art fair changes name for fear of trousers factory

You can still eat a raw egg in English, but you can no longer use the word RAW for almost anything to do with style. Therefore, the RAW Art Fair is to be renamed next year. Sources at the organisers of the Rotterdam Art Week Art Fair confirm that this may have avoided a dragging court case.

The reason for the rather rigorous move is the ruling in a procedure which the trouser brand had filed against retail chain H&M. It concerned the use of the word 'RAW' on clothing and in advertisements. G-Star RAW prevailed in court that the use of the word RAW in capital letters on publicity material of others could evoke wrong associations. In short: RAW is a trademark, and you cannot infringe on it.

Since the verdict was only pronounced on 13 November 2013, the RAW Art Fair did not have time to stop all the preparatory work for last weekend's fair and come up with a new name. Nor was there any budget to wait for a court case, which might successfully prevent G-Star's trademark right from being ruled over the art fair as well. The sponsorship request that the fair submitted to G-STAR RAW three years ago must not have made things better for the Rotterdammers either: it was rejected. But then those three letters no longer really stand for Rotterdam Art Week, no matter how big you put it on the banners.

[Tweet "RAW is a trademark, and you can't infringe on it."]

The audience was left with the following statement from the organisers: "Surely the raw atmosphere was missed here and there. Founder Bob Smit himself calls it 'a fair in the interim phase', the art fair has grown up, but has not yet fully defined its form at this new location. He himself has literally worked his ass off and is now in bed awaiting surgery. Smit: "I am lying here comfortably between the white sheets already thinking about how we are going to tackle it next year, with the atmosphere in this building a new image and a new name fits!"

The verdict in the H&M case can be found here: 20131113 Verdict - with grosse Gstar HM

Click to access 20131113-Vonnis-met-grosse-Gstar-HM.pdf

 

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