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Making a trademark out of a tragedy (WIPR)

May 22, 2015

Social media have become an indispensable part of life. A phrase or slogan, often with a hashtag, can create awareness, allow people to share information, and organise action around a particular cause or issue. But popularised terms can also be used in the wrong way. This is highlighted by, for example, the sudden upsurge in the filing of trademarks closely connected to tragedies.
While the world is trying to wrap its head around the MH370 tragedy, some people have already tried to exploit it for their own benefit. On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 (MH370) disappeared, leaving no trace of the 239 lives on board, all of whom are presumed to be dead. Five days later, Aoan International filed an application with IP Australia for the trademark ‘MH370’. The agency rejected the application on December 12,2014, saying the mark‘MH370’ lacks distinctiveness as the term is in circulation globally and is scandalous Read More.

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