Trademarks and Brands

Diana Muller, Guest Blogger

Diana Muller is of counsel to Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, P.C. Mrs. Muller’s expertise is Intellectual Property law, primarily in regard to the protection and enforcement of trademarks and copyrights on a worldwide basis. As a special foreign counsel, Diana is able to devise strategies for the protection of her clients’ brands on a worldwide basis, not only utilizing the national laws of particular countries of interest, but also taking advantage of international treaties such as the Madrid Protocol and the European Community regulations. Mrs. Muller has also advised renowned artists, designers, and sports figures on the protection of their names and likeness.



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El Chapo, A Criminal: Can He Register His Name and Profit From It?

by Diana Muller, Guest Blogger on Thursday, 11 February, 2016

The world has recently been fascinated by the capture of one of the most wanted men in the world, Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “El Chapo.” When El Chapo was finally arrested by the Mexican Marines in early January, the image of him wearing a filthy shirt went viral. The US media was also captivated by El Chapo’s secretive interview with the American actor Sean Penn, published in Rolling Stone magazine (at this interview, El Chapo wore a shirt that according to its California manufacturer became a “best seller” thereafter). Mr. Loera earned his nickname not because of his criminal exploits, but because of his diminutive size. The term “el chapo” is quite commonly used in Mexico to identify short people, who are also frequently called “chaparros.”

Intellectual property lawyers were intrigued by El Chapo's interest in a bigger venture: producing a movie about his life. The notorious drug lord was not satisfied with the accumulation of power and money generated by his criminal activities. He wanted more, and during his most recent stint in prison he instructed his Mexican lawyers to protect his name. Did the Mexican authorities grant his wishes based on Mexican trademark law and practice? The answer is NO. The Mexican IP Office, known as the IMPI, denied registration of the following four applications: El Chapo Guzman; Joaquin El Chapo Guzman; El Chapito Guzman and Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera El Chapo Guzman. The applications were filed by El Chapo’s daughter, Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar, and his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro. The IMPI based its objections on the fact that such applications identify an international criminal, within the prohibitions article 4 of the Mexican Industrial Property Law, namely: “No patents, registrations or authorizations shall be granted nor shall publications in the Gazette be carried out for the legal figures or institutions regulated under this Law whose content or form is contrary to public order, to moral and decency, or that contravene any legal provision.”

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