Surviving with Miel Gibson

In February, Chilean teacher Yohana Agurto lost her job. Being a single mother of four, her situation got even worse when Chile went into lockdown due to the Corona outbreak. But all of a sudden she had a brilliant idea when she saw a picture of Mel Gibson somewhere online. She still had a lot of organic honey in her basement. A new brand was born: Miel Gibson ("miel" being Spanish for honey). A picture of the actor taken from the movie Braveheart was used on the label. Sales were not booming, but it paid the bills and the kids could eat, so she told the New York Times.


However, Mel Gibson's lawyers also got the word. So a letter followed ordering a cease & desist of the unlawful use of the name and image. For a moment Yohana thought about giving up, but then how would she feed her children? The alternative was to seek publicity online in the hopes of settling the case. And with success, she was allowed to continue using the name, only Mel Gibson's face could no longer be used.

Often companies tend to respond to any infringement with a standard Cease & Desist or go in with full body armor. Our word of advice, first check exactly who you are dealing with. Beware that public opinion can swing against you, even if you are legally right. A more humane approach often works much better, having the same effect and not damaging the brand holder’s public image.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?