Theater That Created Fake Political Party Challenges Politician's Use of 'United Estonia'
The NO99 Theater, whose "United Estonia" party congress acted as a lightning rod for growing political frustration and presaged initiatives such as the Charter 12 petition, says it will not allow a right-of-center politician to appropriate the name of its fake party.
The name, "Ühtne Eesti" in Estonian, is a trademark owned by the theater, the theater's marketing and communication director Kätlin Sumberg told uudised.err.ee today.
"The name is patented, but we are in no way connected to the founding of the new political party," she said.
Referring to the fields in which the trademark is protected, she added: "Political party activity is included under sport and cultural activity; in other words the trademark is protected in that field, too."
NO99 holds the rights until 2022.
Sumberg said she had contacted the politician, MEP Kristiina Ojuland, who is one of several liberal right politicians who are in the process of creating new parties on a part of the spectrum long dominated by ruling parties Reform Party and IRL.
NO99's director Tiit Ojasoo said it was a common phenomenon for real-life politicians to try to tap into the selling power of the name.
"The theater is used to such news. But it is a NO99 trademark and we have not given consent for anyone to use it."
The 2010 improvised live extravaganza at the Saku Arena, taking place in the form of a congress for a fictitious party, seen by some as code for the Reform Party, also involved outdoor media campaigns and smaller supporting performances. It was the first of several initiatives that expressed frustration with the perceived lack of substantive communication from long-serving coalition parties. Several years later, less theatrical initiatives such as Citizen's Parliament and the Charter 12 manifesto took shape.
Ojuland has also weighed in, saying it was not in fact a coincidence that she chose the name, as previously reported. She credited the United Estonia production as being the first to draw attention to areas that she says need to be addressed in Estonia.
Ojuland is a former member of the Reform Party. She was expelled last year.