European court rules drug lord Pablo Escobar’s name cannot be trademarked

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 4:01 AM

By Julia Payne

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The name of late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar cannot be registered as an EU trade mark, the European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday, after his brother tried to lay a claim.

The court upheld the decision of the EU’s intellectual property office (EUIPO) that refused a trade mark application by Escobar Inc. in 2022.

“EUIPO correctly found that those persons would associate the name of Pablo Escobar with drug trafficking and narco-terrorism and with the crimes and suffering resulting therefrom, rather than with his possible good deeds in favour of the poor in Colombia,” the court said in a statement.

Escobar Inc. was founded in Puerto Rico by Pablo Escobar’s brother Roberto de Jesús Escobar Gaviria, who spent 12 years in prison for his role in his brother’s criminal organisation.

Gaviria said in 2020 that his company would launch a foldable smartphone called the Escobar Fold 1. The company currently sells a crypto currency called Escobar Cash, according to its website.

Pablo Escobar led one of the world’s most powerful criminal organizations, the Medellin cartel. His fortune, made from trafficking cocaine, was estimated by Forbes in 1987 to have reached over $3 billion although some accounts put it at much higher.

Thousands of people were killed in cartel-related violence during and after his death in 1993 when he was shot by security forces.

(Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Angus MacSwan)