2019.12.11 11:00

Lithuanian PM's brand application spurs controversy

Lithuania's brand database has received an application to register ‘Tėvynės labui’ (‘For the Fatherland’), a slogan linked to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.

The application was filed on December 2 in the name of the prime minister, the news website reports.

The application was submitted by lawyer Dominykas Vanhara, and the goods and services associated with the registered brand are identified as “the organization of political gatherings”.

Skirmantas Malinauskas, an adviser to the prime minister, has confirmed that the brand was registered in the name of Skvernelis. ‘Tėvynės labui’ was also the slogan of the prime minister's presidential campaign this year.

“Skvernelis reserved this name as it was used during his presidential election campaign. This slogan is directly linked with Skvernelis, therefore, there's a wish to keep it. It doesn’t mean Skvernelis is establishing a party or a political movement,” Malinauskas told the news website.

A legal entity name ‘Tėvynės labui’ was reserved with the Centre of Registers in late August, but the reservation expired on December 6. It sparked speculations that Skvernelis, who has been nominated for the post of prime minister by the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, was looking to establish a new party.

Read more: Faceless new political party could be linked to Lithuanian PM Skvernelis

The application has attracted criticism. An open letter, co-signed by a number of public figures, argues that it is illegal for the prime minister to register the phrase as his personal brand.

‘Tėvynės labui’ is part of the oath of allegiance given by soldiers and police officers, the letter says.

“These words are uttered by soldiers who have distinguished themselves in actual battlefield [...] when they are awarded state decorations,” says the letter signed, among others, by the journalist Edmundas Jakilaitis, the publisher Tomas Balžekas and the racer Benediktas Vanagas.

“These words should not be selfishly appropriated by any person or political organisation.”

The authors also claim that the law does not allow registering a brand that contains symbols of high symbolic value.