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Binladin fashion label torn up by Swiss

Yeslam Binladin said he had no plans to use the brand name commercially Keystone Archive

The Swiss authorities have revoked a decision allowing the millionaire half-brother of Osama bin Laden to use the family name as a fashion label.

This content was published on July 20, 2002 - 11:51

The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, which granted Yeslam Binladin permission to use the trademark in August last year, said such a move would be "morally offensive" in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks in the United States.

"The trademark 'Bin Ladin' is a reminder of the events of September 11, 2001, and of a new and incomprehensible dimension of terrorism," said the institute in a statement.

"As a consequence, the name 'Bin Ladin' can now be seen as offensive to the moral sensibilities of a considerable section of the public."

Binladin, who has lived in Switzerland since 1985, applied for a trademark licence in February last year via his Zug-based Falcon Sporting Goods company. The firm is managed by his lawyer, Jürg Brand.

The institute launched proceedings in January to have the trademark revoked, arguing that a "Bin Ladin" clothing line would be insensitive. Yeslam Binladin was given the opportunity to argue his case prior to Thursday's ruling.

Commercial exploitation

At the time, Binladin said he had no plans to use the brand name commercially, but merely to prevent others from registering and profiting from it. "Trademark protection guarantees that the name will not be used for negative ends by third parties," he said.

Eric Meier, head of the institute's trademark department, said Binladin had until August 15 to appeal against the decision.

Binladin, who was granted Swiss citizenship last year, has repeatedly denied any links with his half-brother, who is widely suspected of being behind last September's attacks.

He is currently involved in a legal battle to block distribution in Switzerland of a book, "Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth", which alleges that he is in contact with his half-brother.

In March, French police raided Yeslam Binladin's villa in Cannes as part of a money-laundering probe. Paris judges launched an investigation into his Saudi Investment Company at the end of last year.

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