The Leonardo case in a nutshell...

The major facts about the Transasia vs. Leonardo case can be summarized in a few words as follows:

  • The Leonardo network was established back in the mid-sixties by the artist and scientist Frank Malina. Among its founding members were prominent artists, intellectuals and scientists, and its aim was to explore the use of new media and the sciences in the arts.

  • For over 33 years now, Leonardo has been publishing the Leonardo Review with continuous copyright registration.

  • Leonardo is active both in France and in the USA and has, long ago, legally established two non-profit organizations, one in each country (L'Observatoire Leonardo in France and Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology in the USA).

  • During its long presence in the International Fine Arts scene, Leonardo has documented the work of more than 3.000 artists and published several books, reviews, magazines and web sites, some of which have been operational since 1994.

  • The founders of Leonardo and their successors have never considered establishing the word "Leonardo" as a trademark. As a matter of fact, even today, it seems highly inappropriate to appropriate the name of Leonardo da Vinci and many others...

  • Between October 1995 and December 1998, Transasia Corporation, a company based in France and its affiliate company LEONARDO FINANCE have deposited as trademarks the words "LEONARDO", "LEONARDO FINANCE", "LEONARDO PARTNERS", "LEONARDO EXPERTS", "LEONARDO INVEST" and "LEONARDO ANGELS". They have also established in 1998 a non-profit organization under the name "L'Association Leonardo".

  • In November 1999, Transasia filed a lawsuit against Leonardo, claiming that it has infringed its trademarks and asking for almost 1.000.000 US$ for damages caused by this alleged trademark infringement. Among the justifying reasons for its claims, Transasia mentions the fact that when searching the web for the word "Leonardo" through the major Internet search engines, the web pages of Leonardo appear first in the results listings, thus it creates confusion to its customers.

  • Although it is more than clear that, according to the European law, Transasia's outrageous claims are not based on solid legal ground, the lawsuit has dragged Leonardo into a legal adventure it cannot financially handle, as the associated cost is very high for a non-profit organization.

For us in ART TOPOS (and for many others), Transasia's legal action is nothing but an effort of crude infringement upon virtual territory and identity, and certainly through perfidious means. We consider Transasia's practices as an attempt to exterminate a flourishing cultural organization in the name of its lucrative business needs.

© ART TOPOS, 1996, 2000
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