Osama Kin Back in Brand Equity Play?
No, not that Bin Laden — it’s about his evidently decent half brother, one of the 54 siblings and semi-siblings who didn’t blow anything up. The family operates the Bin Laden Group, which is a construction company, but this half-brother wants to go into something a little less butch: fashion and fragrances.
Nota bene: Under U.S. trademark law, what Mr. Binladin (how he spells his name now) did in Switzerland would not be hardly anything like a trademark, at least the way it has been reported. Put simply, business names are not trademarks in and of themselves. Neither are surnames. And, of course, here trademarks are earned by use and the development of secondary meaning, not registration (which only enhances the protections available to trademarks). You can file what is called an Intent to Use trademark application here, but Binladin is quite clear that he has indeed no intent to use the name.
All of which means that if you want to open the Bin Laden CafÃ©, roll out a line of Bin Ladin Dental Floss, or start hawking Bin Laden Beer, this Swiss development in and of itself shouldn’t necessarily scare you off. Other things might, but I just provide the legal advice.