Bullfighter not allowed to register act as intellectual property

by Lorraine Williamson
bullfighter Miguel Ángel Perera

The Spanish Supreme Court has not upheld bullfighter MiguelÁngel Perera in his appeal to have a 2014 performance in Badajoz registered as intellectual property, thus protecting it from possible reproductions. 

The Supreme Court finds that artistic value cannot be objectively assessed 

The Supreme Court is of the opinion that what happens in the arena between the moment the bull enters the arena and the moment he is killed by the bullfighter cannot be recorded as intellectual property. Due to the fact it is impossible to objectively and accurately judge what exactly the original artistic creation was.

Two ears and a tail 

The appeal concerns a performance by bullfighter, Perera in Badajoz on June 22, 2014. Here, he showed an act highly appreciated by the public. As a result, he was traditionally rewarded with both ears of the bull and even with his tail.  Moreover, only in very exceptional cases can the audience ask for this. Perera then saw his performance as a work of art and wanted to register it as intellectual property. This was to prevent his act from being imitated by other bullfighters. 

Perera was found partly right by the judge, namely that it is indeed a form of art. However, what had taken place in Badajoz cannot be regarded as the property of anyone and therefore not his own. According to the judge, the bullfighter cannot derive any rights from his own actions. And as such there are arbitrary factors of the moment that by definition make a reproduction of the performance impossible. 

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Perera said in a response to the decision of the supreme court that he respected the decision. However he did not agree with the legal basis. “I remain of the opinion that the work of a bullfighter is an artistic work that has all the rights of intellectual property, just as any other work of art is,” Perera said in a press conference. 

Not an original artistic manifestation 

The performance that Perera wanted to register as intellectual property received the title “Bullfighter performance with two ears and a publicly requested bull tail of” Curioso “No. 94, weighing 539 kilos, born in February 2010 at the Garcigrande breeding farm. Ferio de San Juan de Badajoz, June 22, 2014 ”. 

The request Perera submitted to the court was accompanied by a video recording and description of the action in question. After the request was initially rejected by the Extremadura Court, Perera appealed to the Supreme Court. This has now also ruled that it is not an original artistic manifestation. 

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