Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Colombia rejects bid to make ‘Pablo Escobar’ into brand

AFP, BOGOTA

In life, Pablo Escobar was a legend: a cocaine lord venerated by Colombia’s poor and hunted relentlessly by police. In death came books, a TV series and plans for a movie starring Benicio del Toro.

Yet registering his name as a commercial brand, as requested by the Escobar family, goes too far, a Colombian government body overseeing intellectual property has ruled.

Colombia’s Superintendent of Industry and Trade said such a gesture would “undermine the morals and public order of Colombian society and defend violence, drug trafficking and terrorism.”

Escobar, head of the powerful Medellin drug cartel in the 1980s and early 1990s, was shot dead by police in 1993.

His widow, Maria Isabel Santos, and two children filed to register his name as a brand. They have been living in Argentina under assumed names for years.

The request was first denied in 2006 and again last year, but the family appealed again. Now that it has been turned down once more, no more appeals can be filed.

In the petition, the Escobar family argued that a Pablo Escobar brand would “transmit messages that invite humanity to reflect in order to create a society that recovers and respects human rights,” the office said.

Escobar fought a bloody war to avoid being extradited to the US, which wanted him for allegedly being behind the shipment of tonnes of cocaine to the US.

Many poor Colombians loved Escobar because of his largesse. He built parks and hospitals for them, among other things.

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