The “World Macedonian Congress – Australia” (WMC-A) organization representing so-called “Macedonians” hailing from the country presently known as FYROM, has had its attempts to trademark an ancient Greek symbol, the Vergina Sun, stymied by I.P. Australia (Intellectual Property Australia).
The WMC-A had submitted an application to I.P. Australia in an attempt to trademark the Vergina Sun symbol for inclusion in its logo for use within Australia. This application was subsequently denied.
In its decision, I.P. Australia remarked:
“Your trademark contains a national symbol of Greece. Under the Paris Convention, Australia must prohibit registration of trademarks containing such symbols. This means your trademark is not registrable without authorisation from the relevant authority.”
The “relevant authority,” as noted by I.P Australia, is the Greek Embassy in Australia.
Not surprisingly, this decision has left the WMC-A seething, as it is now threatening to take I.P. Australia to court over this ruling.
Also known as the Star of Vergina, the Macedonian Star, or the Argead Star, the Vergina Sun is an ancient Greek symbol which appears in Greek art of the 6th to 2nd centuries BC, featuring sixteen triangular rays. It is the historical royal symbol of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia.
In 1991, the self-proclaimed “Republic of Macedonia,” upon achieving independence, attempted to appropriate the Vergina Sun symbol for its flag. As part of the interim agreement of 1995 with Greece, however, in which Greece’s northern neighbor was assigned the interim name of “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYROM), FYROM was obliged to change its flag, adopting a different solar symbol which remains in use today.
The WMC-A’s angry press release, following denial of their trademark application: