Colombia Denies Family Of Pablo Escobar Trademark On His Name

from the trademark-is-a-hell-of-a-law dept

We've seen cases previously where people have trademarked their own name, or an estate has trademarked the name of a family member. While that concept still strikes me as somewhat silly, those marks are typically used to ensure false endorsements aren't promoted by companies that otherwise wouldn't have received one. And that makes at least some semblance of sense in conjunction with the overarching purpose of trademark law: avoiding customer confusion. In other words, you don't want a famous name associated with a product that hasn't actually been endorsed.

However, I'm at quite a loss as to what the family of famous cocaine-slinger Pablo Escobar imagined they were going to do when they attempted to trademark his name. Did they somehow think that the infamous drug-pusher/murderer was going to show up on Coca-Cola cans? Or perhaps they're planning to release their own line of clothing? More likely they, like so many others, are confused on what the actual limits on trademark law are and wish to use the mark as a censoring tool for how Escobar is represented in documentaries and historical media.

Either way, it doesn't matter, because Colombia has now repeatedly denied the request for the mark.

The Commission of Industry and Commerce said Thursday that granting a trademark would be immoral and subvert public order. It said the name Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria is associated with a dark period of violence in Colombia that claimed thousands of lives as he fought extradition to the United States.
Now, I'm not all that fond of the morality claim, but it brings a smile to my face to see a governing body put the interest of the public in front of someone requesting a trademark. It sure would be nice if we saw more of that in the States.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 4:02pm

    "Now, I'm not all that fond of the morality claim, but it brings a smile to my face to see a governing body put the interest of the public in front of someone requesting a trademark. It sure would be nice if we saw more of that in the States."


    We have seen it in the US. It's one of those things that probably wouldn't bring a smile on your face or be nice if we saw more of it, as in when the lesbian biker group "Dykes on Bikes" had their trademark denied.

    I'm glad that a criminal's family was denied the right to create a government sponsored brand based on that criminality, but broad principles like "the public interest" are easily subverted without specific protections.

     

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    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 6:23pm

    Great product placement, Timmy! Followed my lead.

    "going to show up on Coca-Cola cans?"

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130926/01390424661/universal-music-lawyers-realize-that -taking-down-charlie-brown-smiths-remix-not-brightest-idea-theyve-had.shtml#c14

    Not TOO surprisingly, I snared a humorless baboon! That "S. T. Stone" apparently took it seriously!

    I'll just take a pause, now -- the pause that refreshes! Mmm!

     

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  3.  
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    Arioch (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 7:57pm

    Surprisingly the RIAA and MAFIAA haven't backed him yet. After all, piracy is costing the industry millions and by their own statistics he is one of the industries dependent upon them, that is now losing money

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 8:33pm

    'Escobar' brand Mirrors, razorblades and banknotes.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 27th, 2013 @ 12:45am

    As mentioned, there's only 2 realistic ways in which they would use the trademark - to create a monopoly for any profit generated from his name, or to censor what others say about him. Given that he's not only a public figure, but one who became that way through breaking the law, they don't deserve either of these powers. Good call.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 27th, 2013 @ 12:48am

    Re:

    Not to mention that he was probably a major supplier for them at some point in his past...

     

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    Ninja (profile), Sep 27th, 2013 @ 4:28am

    So, if they got the trademark would they be suing murderers and drug dealers for offering the same services? You know, to avoid customer confusion? /herpderp

     

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  8.  
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    btrussell (profile), Sep 27th, 2013 @ 4:47am

    "...a dark period of violence in Colombia that claimed thousands of lives as he fought extradition to the United States."

    But it was worth it, there is no more coke in the USA.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    Escovar what?

     

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    Andres, Sep 27th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Colombian Television produces have made a series of very popular Soap Operas centered around the persona of Pablo Escobar, and the history of the country around the time he was alive. Some of these programs are been exported to the Hispanic TV marker in USA.

    My guess would be that the family was after a piece of this pie when they wanted to Trademark the name.

     

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