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Can “degrading or offensive” trademarks really be registered?

A few weeks ago the internet exploded against an influencer promoting a mezcal brand with false words.

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Can “degrading or offensive” trademarks really be registered?
Can “degrading or offensive” trademarks really be registered?

This story originally appeared at high level

By Tanya Escamilla, Director of Technical and Legal Services at ClarkeModet México

Both a brand and the advertising around it must be linked to ethics according to ethical principles such as legality, truthfulness, honesty, fair competition, and respect and dignity. These last concepts as basic principles indicate this A brand shouldn’t communicate offensive words or picturesnor to promote attitudes of discrimination or vilification on grounds of nationality, economic situation, race, religion, gender, political preference, sexual orientation, physical characteristics or different abilities.

The foregoing becomes relevant in the context of the situation that occurred a few weeks ago on social networks following the publication of a photo by one of the most important “influencers” in Mexico and Latin America. As a result of this post, the internet exploded against the content creator, and the eye of the hurricane focused on a decontextualized message – –derived from the brand of a mezcal– – In the midst of a reality in which we are increasingly aware of issues such as justice, impunity, femicides and gender equality.

With that in mind, the trademark in question requested Mezcal in September 2018 to register the unfortunate formulation to protect alcoholic beverages (other than beers), which IMPI itself contested, which took this into consideration the prohibition provided for in Article 4 of the Industrial Property Act arose because it is a denomination whose ideological content is contrary to morality. The official letter containing this objection was communicated to the applicant’s mark in October of the same year. However, the IMPI system indicates that the registration is still pending.

To date, the Mexican Institute for Industrial Property (IMPI) prohibits the registration of trademarks that contain degrading or offensive words.when you consider that these violate morality and good manners. However, this has taken an unexpected turn as the June 1st Federal Law on the Protection of Industrial Property was released, which will abolish the previous one and go into effect from November 5th of this year, without including such a ban.

Upon reviewing the Federal Consumer Protection Act, we cannot find anything related either to the prohibition of denominations or to this type of advertising. Therefore, our lawmakers have a moral obligation to carry out the relevant reforms that prohibit the registration of trademarks, advertising, and even marketing of products with labels that may be considered offensive.

Although the “Youtuber” apologized publicly, this photo was kept on his social networks for several days – which have already been withdrawn – and the phenomenon that caused it made it possible for us to observe it Normalization that our society gives to these types of messages, a situation that has pervaded the area of ​​trademark registration as well.

It is so until The use of degrading or insulting words is not corrected by our legislators. We need to rely on the creative teams’ good judgment and consumers who discourage the creation and positioning of brands that promote offensive images or discriminatory attitudes.

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