COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Greenpeace campaign gains from court case

KIRSTEN DOWNER

Esso France's legal action against Greenpeace over misuse of its logo has boosted the global Stop Esso campaign, according to the environmental group.

Esso obtained a ruling in France earlier this month ordering the environmental group to remove the company's logo from a Stop Esso campaign web site.

Esso claimed that the dollar signs in the design of the logo "Stop Edollars $0

resembled Nazi SS symbols. The judge has thrown out this claim but upheld an injunction against use of the logo, which Greenpeace is now appealing against.

But a legal decision in France will have no effect on the main campaigning web sites, Stop-Esso.com (UK) and StopEsso.org (Global), said Cindy Baxter, co-ordinator of the Stop Esso campaign for Greenpeace UK.

"This is a massive PR own goal. It's generated huge publicity and traffic is up on the Greenpeace France Stop Esso site,

she said.

Oil company Exxon Mobil sells petrol under the Esso banner and Greenpeace is one of the main backers of a campaign to boycott Exxon-owned service stations to highlight its stance on global warming, along with Friends of the Earth and People & Planet.

Greenpeace is still allowed to use the subverted logo in its campaign materials, despite Esso's attempt to prevent it from doing this, said Baxter.

ExxonMobil said that the French court case is a response to the misuse of the company's logo, not an attempt to halt the Stop Esso campaign.

A spokesman for ExxonMobil in the UK refused to say whether the company had plans to target any other Stop Esso web sites in the future but the company's web site describes the information underpinning the Stop Esso campaign as "extraordinarily inaccurate".

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