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Swiss recognise Bin Ladin trademark

A satisfactory result for Yeslam Binladin Keystone Archive

Yeslam Binladin, a half-brother of Osama bin Laden, has been given the go-ahead to market products under the brand name Bin Ladin.

This content was published on February 24, 2005 - 16:39

A Swiss appeals committee on Thursday said it had overturned an earlier decision by the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property to revoke the trademark licence on the grounds that the name was "morally offensive".

Explaining its decision, which was taken in June 2004 but has only just been made public, the appeals body said it did not believe that use of the trademark constituted a threat to public order, as claimed by the federal institute.

It added that there was no reason to ban a brand name that was already registered. The Federal Institute of Intellectual Property had registered the trademark in August 2001, one month before the September 11 terrorist attacks blamed on Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network.

The appeals committee said that when the brand name was registered there had been no adverse reaction within Switzerland or from abroad. It further stated that there was no proven link between Osama bin Laden and the September 11 attacks.

Swiss citizen

Saudi businessman Yeslam Binladin has lived in Geneva since 1985 and has Swiss citizenship. His company Falcon Sporting Goods planned to launch a Bin Ladin clothing line, and registered the trademark in February 2001. Six months later the authorities gave their approval.

But the federal institute decided to revoke its decision in July 2002 in the wake of the September 11 attacks. "These tragic events have changed public perceptions about this trademark and the name Bin Ladin is a reminder of the terrorist acts," it said at the time.

Binladin, who has since launched his own perfume – Yeslam – appealed against the decision to revoke the trademark.

He has no immediate plans to market goods under the name Bin Ladin, but says he wants to protect the name for future use.

"I don’t intend to exploit the Bin Ladin brand commercially for the time being. But registering it will prevent others from using my name to bad effect."

swissinfo, Luigino Canal

Key facts

February 27, 2001: Company owned by Yeslam Binladin registers the Bin Ladin trademark with the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property.
July 15, 2002: The institute considers that the events of September 11 "have changed the public perception of this brand" .
June 30, 2004: Federal appeals committee for intellectual property recognises the trademark in a ruling which cannot be challenged.

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In brief

Yeslam Binladin, the half brother of Osama bin Laden, launched a perfume called Yeslam in 2004.

The 55-year-old Saudi businessman is also involved in cinema, and owns Almaz Film Productions.

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