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Intellectual Property Insights: Arsenie Boca – Is it possible to own the rights to the name of a religious figure?

April 2023

A scandal involving the trademark and design rights protecting the name and image of Arsenie Boca shook the Romanian public in late 2017 and early 2018. The Romanian Orthodox monk, widely revered for his spiritual teachings and charitable work and considered by many Romanians as a spiritual guide and cultural icon, passed away in 1989, leaving behind a legacy that inspired many religious people.

Along the years, various natural persons and Christian foundations had made unsuccessful attempts to register the name “Arsenie Boca” as a trademark before the national Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks. However, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) granted protection for several rights that featured the monk’s name and/or image.

Naturally, this context raises the question: with the enormous amount of public interest generated by the name and image of this iconic figure, is it possible to own the intellectual property rights?

To provide an answer to this complex concern, Partner Andreea Bende authored an overview of the known context, facts, and recent decisions in this matter.

The full article is available for download HERE.


To raise awareness on intellectual property aspects and to help companies understand the relevant concepts, risks and benefit connected to such, SIMION & BACIU constantly contributes expert views to reputable publications, such as ILO/Lexology.

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