Joe Gandelman reports about a trademark story relating to the protection of the Bin Laden family name in Europe.

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 Café, 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.

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

3 thoughts on “Osama Kin Back in Brand Equity Play?”
  1. Dude. Duuuuudddeeee. I’ve got the urge.

    Now I have two socially-destructive goals for when I become filthy rich. The new one, of course, is to open up the Bin Laden burger bar. It would have to be somewhere really wild, like Idaho.

    The first one is to open up a giant donut store called the “pig sty.” Put it directly across the street from LAPD headquarters. (Actually, I’m a bit madder at NOPD right now, so maybe there.) Sell the cheapest, best donuts in the country. Get gigantic turbines in the kitchen to blow the scent across the street. And forbid any police officers from entering.

    Ok, I have a sick sense of humor. Is that a problem? 🙂

  2. Well, we know bin laden burgers would be firebombed within, like, minutes. Pig sty might be safe so long as EVERY SINGLE MINUTE PORTION of the health code was faithfully obeyed at all times, and the taillight on my car never went out! 😉

    Oh… a funny thing happened at the office today. Someone accidentally put our phone number in some newspaper advertisement, so we got a couple of calls. We were speculating about what the ad might be, and I suggested it could be a vengeful harassment ad placed by some opposing party, and dreamed up a couple possibilities. Well…

    I don’t know if I should post this publicly, in case someone actually does it — but I’m gonna, with a caveat to any non-lawyer readers: Dear non-lawyer readers: this would be HIGHLY ILLEGAL and would get you sued for DEFAMATION and INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACT and possibly criminally punished for WIRE FRAUD and otherwise would be bad. DON’T DO IT…

    That being said… the ultimate harassment ad:

    “Osama Bin Laden is doing the right thing, and I support him! To contribute, call XXX-XXX-XXXX.”

    Can you imagine!

Comments are closed.