President to look for a new office
Campaign aims to draw attention towards the corrupt business practices of Czech politicians
“Centuries-old castle in the heart of Prague's historical centre available for sale. This magnificent estate boasts royal palaces, terrace gardens, churches and other sacred buildings. With an area consisting of 70 000 m2, previous residents include the Roman Emperor Rudolf II and more recently, former Czech President Václav Havel.”
Operating under the name “Sell Prague Castle”, a campaign began on September 9th 2013 with a special web page and advertising space in property portals and international newspaper publications. Believed to be the work of real estate firm Czech Point 101, it is understood that the purpose of this campaign is not to actually sell the castle, but instead to draw the attention of the public towards the corrupt business practices of Czech politicians.
The real estate firm Czech Point 101 owned the registered trademark ‘CZECH POINT’ since 2006, yet after only a year the Czech Authorities chose to ‘take' the name for themselves, using it to brand their National information and authorization service terminal (CPOINT) or as it soon became known, “Czech Point”. The Ministry of Interior then went on to apply for the cancellation of CZECH POINT 101’s earlier trademark and eventually, succeeded. Commenting on the situation, Nathan Brown, the spokesperson for the real estate firm Czech Point 101 had say the following. "The Czech Republic has a painful history of the government expropriating private property when they felt it served their interests. This was all supposed to have changed in 1989. Quite simply, the Czech government is trying to steal our property, and in return, we want to place Prague Castle up for sale"
The dispute even reached the EU level in 2009 and CZECH POINT 101 received a decision in their favor. However, despite this ruling, the Ministry of Interior has unfortunately chosen to ignore this decision and leave their court fees unpaid. Sadly it does not stop there. In June 2013, the original registration of the ‘CZECH POINT' trade mark was cancelled by the Authority for Intellectual Property, acting under the direction of the Ministry of Interior. The reasoning behind the cancellation was that CZECH POINT 101 had intended to misuse the trademark against the Czech government, because at the time the real estate company could have known about the information terminal system. This , however, was not true in any point, and the cancellation of the CZECH POINT 101 trademark by the Authority for Intellectual Property is being examined by an independent administration court.
Following this action, Nathan Brown explains their reasoning for this campaign; "The Ministry of Interior claims that we registered the name only to be able to profit from their upcoming office. We have, however, been using our business name CZECH POINT (101) since 2003 and our trademark was registered before the government project even existed.”
“To show that our fight is about fundamental property rights we guarantee that if the Ministry of Interior comes forward with a settlement we would donate 75% of it to the non-profit organization Transparency International Czech Republic - a cause that the citizens of Czech Republic care about a lot, and that the Ministry of Interior should care about as well."
Related Websites: www.praguecastleforsale.com www.prazskyhradnaprodej.cz
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