Agency moves to block Binladin fashion label

Swiss authorities say the use of the Binladin name is insensitive Keystone Archive

Swiss authorities are taking action to stop the millionaire half-brother of Osama bin Laden from using the family name as a fashion label.

This content was published on January 22, 2002 minutes

Yeslam Binladin, who has lived in Geneva for the past 20 years, was granted a trademark by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property prior to the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

But the institute has now decided that a "Binladin" clothing line would be insensitive and it has launched proceedings to have the trademark revoked.

"The institute thinks that since September 11 the trademark Binladin could hurt society's moral feelings," Eric Meier, head of the institute's trademark department, told swissinfo.

"We informed the owner of the trademark and now he has the opportunity to take a position on this and explain his arguments."

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Binladin agreed that it would be insensitive to consider the use of the name for commercial purposes at the present time.

"However, trademark protection guarantees that the name will not be used for negative ends by third parties," he said.

Binladin did not specify what commercial plans he had for the name, but his lawyer, Jürg Brand, was quoted last week as saying the trademark was registered to launch a fashion label.

Wrong to judge

Binladin added that his family should not be judged because of the actions of "one banished member".

Meier said he could not comment on whether a reply had been received from Binladin or his lawyer since the case was now "active".

When asked by swissinfo whether there had been any opposition to Yeslam Binladin's initial application, Meier replied that he could not recall any "big objections", adding that it had been processed as normal.

He insisted that there was no need to review the Swiss system of granting trademarks, describing the Binladin case as "exceptional".

Binladin, who was granted Swiss citizenship last year, was quick to condemn the September 11 attacks, describing them as a "criminal act of terrorism". He has repeatedly denied any links with his half-brother.

Last month he accused the authors and editors of a book, "Ben Laden, The Forbidden Truth", of defamation, after they claimed he was in contact with his half-brother.

Binladin's lawyer, Jürg Brand, said his client was seeking SFr20 million ($12 million) in damages.

swissinfo with agencies

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