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Banksy: Card firm rejects 'custody' claim

Card by company in Banksy dispute Image copyright PA Media
Image caption A card by the company involved in the trademark dispute with Banksy

A greeting cards company has denied it attempted to "take custody" of the graffiti artist Banksy name to sell "fake" merchandise of his art.

Full Colour Black, which is involved in a trademark legal row, said the artist's comment was "entirely untrue".

The north Yorkshire company insisted it was a "legitimate enterprise" that did not "infringe his rights in any way".

Banksy claimed he had been forced to open a shop in Croydon, south London, this week, as a result of the dispute.

The store, Gross Domestic Product, is selling a range of "impractical and offensive" merchandise created by Banksy.

The street artist was advised by his legal team to sell his own merchandise to avoid his trademark being used by someone else under EU law.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Banksy's store is selling a range of "impractical and offensive" merchandise

In a statement, owner Andrew Gallagher said it was a three-person "tiny business" and not a "big corporate group".

"We sell greetings cards from our home. It is entirely untrue that we are attempting to 'take custody' of his name. We don't use his trademarks or his brand name."

The company which has been supplying cards since 2007 claimed its operations saw it "legally photograph public graffiti" to make it available to Banksy fans.

It posted a statement on Facebook and claimed it had contacted Banksy's lawyers several times to offer to pay royalties.

Image copyright Full colour black
Image caption The firm put a statement on its Facebook page

Banksy previously said: "A greetings cards company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art, and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally."

The artist whose identity has never been revealed added: "I think they're banking on the idea I won't show up in court to defend myself."

Items on display in the shop, which are only available to buy online, range in price from a £10 signed spray paint can to a handbag made from a house brick.

Image caption The shop appeared overnight on Wednesday at a disused retail outlet in Croydon

Proceeds have been pledged towards funding a new migrant rescue boat.

He added: "I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal and amend my art for amusement, academic research or activism.

"I just don't want them to get sole custody of my name."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Items that will be available to buy are on display in Croydon

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