Why Glorify a Criminal? Trademark for Pablo Escobar Is Rejected By Court

Medellín Demolishes Pablo Escobar's Museum House, Signaling a Break from its Dark Past
Credit: Colombian National Police, Public domain

The European Union General Court has delivered a verdict with far-reaching implications: the name of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar cannot be trademarked for goods or services within the EU. This ruling follows a legal battle initiated by Escobar Inc, a company founded by Pablo Escobar’s brother, Roberto de Jesus Escobar Gaviria, based in Puerto Rico. 

The court’s decision underscores the enduring notoriety associated with Pablo Escobar, whose name remains synonymous with “drug trafficking and narco-terrorism” and the attendant crimes and suffering they entail. Escobar’s reign as the head of the notorious Medellin cartel, one of the world’s most powerful criminal organizations. 

Pablo Escobar met his demise in a dramatic rooftop shootout with Colombian police and soldiers in Medellin on December 2, 1993. Despite his death, his legacy continues to cast a shadow over Colombia and beyond. The court’s ruling affirms that the association of Escobar’s name with organized crime runs counter to fundamental values and moral standards. 

Why Pablo Escobar Doesn’t Deserve to Be Trademarked

While Escobar Inc. sought to trademark the name for various products and services, the court’s decision upholds the refusal of the application by the EU’s Intellectual Property Office in 2022. This ruling signals a victory for efforts to prevent the glorification or commercialization of individuals linked to criminal activities. 

Throughout his horrific career, Escobar amassed immense wealth through cocaine smuggling, an enterprise responsible for countless deaths and untold suffering. Despite claims of philanthropy and aid to the poor, the court found that Escobar’s legacy is overwhelmingly tainted by his criminal exploits. 

After Escobar’s death, Colombia grappled with the aftermath of cartel-related violence that ravaged communities and claimed thousands of lives. The city of Medellin, which was once a battleground in the war on drugs, bore witness to bombings, shootouts, and a climate of fear as rival factions vied for control. 

Escobar caused a lot of pain to many people – and his legacy should not be idolized.  

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