Banksy loses copyright to 'Flower Thrower' after refusing to reveal identity to judges

Anonymous artist, Banksy has lost copyright for one of his most famous artworks after refusing to reveal his identity to judges.

Banksy lost the case against a greeting card company, Full Colour Black, which argued it should be able to use an image of the Flower Thrower stencil mural, which he painted in Jerusalem in 2005, because of the artist’s anonymity.

The EU's intellectual property office said that Banksy's trademark for the piece Flower Thrower was made in bad faith - and rendered it "invalid in its entirety".

In 2014, Banksy’s representatives, Pest Control Office, successfully applied for an EU trademark of the Flower Thrower, but this week that was overturned after a two-year dispute.

The Flower Thrower piece also known as Love Is In The Air, shows a masked man about to throw a bunch of flowers.

However, in a move that could set a precedent for his other artworks, judges ruled he can not claim an EU trademark for the piece because "he cannot be identified as the unquestionable owner of such works as his identity is hidden", the MailOnline reported.

The panel said: “Banksy has chosen to remain anonymous and, for the most part, to paint graffiti on other people’s property without their permission, rather than to paint it on canvases or his own property."

“His intention was not to use the mark as a trademark to commercialise goods but only to circumnavigate the law. These actions are inconsistent with honest practices,” the panel of three judges said.

Full Colour Black sells a range of cards that feature the work of the artist. They claimed the trademark was only filed to stop "the ongoing use of the work which he had already permitted to be reproduced".

The card company added that Banksy wrote in one of his books that "copyright is for losers".

After the legal case was started in 2019, Banksy opened his own online shop called Gross Domestic Product.

When he opened the shop, which offered only online sales, the artist said the motivation behind it was “possibly the least poetic reason to ever make some art” – the trademark dispute.

Banksy's identity has been subject to speculation for years. Earlier this month former Art Attack presenter Neil Buchanan denied he was Banksy after a social media rumour gained traction.