A trademark is one of the core protections of peoples work and business, but what happens if it is abused and the item is not owned by the person whose trademark it is? To answer this question we will first have to ask what is a trademark and what can it protect.
“A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.” *United States Patent and Trademark Office
Now that we have this covered we can move on to the problem at hand. Multiple people in the world are trying to put a trademark on Santa Muerte. These trademark claims go all the way back to 2005 where the words Santa Muerte themselves were trademarked in a standard Character Mark type set. This has been repeatedly Abandoned, and refiled in 2014, 2015. 2016 and many other years by many individuals who all abandon status after a year or two.
Recently someone has attempted this again but it is unknown yet if it was the wording or the image that is being trademarked. You may find current status to the filing here. Many have started a petition to stop this from happening and consider the use of trying to monopolize a religious figure to be unlawful and against their rights. The petition can be found here. There are accounts of harassment and abuse of religious rights stated in the petition description that the prayers, incantations, images, and offerings are being told to be taken down and no longer used. Those in this petition are asking for the trademarks to be discarded, that the abuse end, and an apology from those who made these claims without providing legal paperwork.
Similar situations have been happening with more frequency lately around the world, regarding trademarking the term “Black Lives Matter” and “BLM” and then threatening to sue anyone who says it or uses it In clothing or apparel. As well as the great “Creepypasta” scandal where someone trademarked the name of “Creepypasta” in Russia and used it to claim the written works of thousands of individuals around the world to publish in books or the rights in video games. Instances like this completely derail the rights of humans freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and ownership to what they have created. A system that can be abused in this way needs to change, and be more defined. These are crimes and should be treated as such.
For those who are worried about how this might affect you and your beliefs or business, I would like to draw your attention to the Doves. Dove chocolate company and Dove soap company are two very different companies that have not gotten into an argument about who owns the trademark because the different text, style and category of good is a different trademark. Even if someone gets a trademark it is only a protection to distinguish their individual goods from another seller’s. They do not own the phrase unless a phrase is also created by them and copyright. Please do not allow illegal threats and harassment to ruin your practice. Please report these incidents to the authorities as soon as possible. Trademarks do not give you the power to break the law.Follow us at: