Trade Mark 46664

I know a lot of patent agents, and even though I'm no longer practicing I still get newsletters, calendars, etc from all over the world. The newsletters help keep me up to date. The following was sent to me by my friends at Adams and Adams, an excellent Intellectual Property Law Firm in South Africa.

The rest of this post is a quote, but for legibility purposes I won't put the quote tag around it - the original authors were the law firm involved and Don MacRobert of Adams and Adams (note: "Madiba" is another name of Nelson Mandela):

A person applied for a trade mark at the Trade Mark Office in Pretoria. The mark consisted only of numbers 46664, which was Nelson Mandelas's cell number whilst in prison. The Nelson Madela family instructed it's legal advisor to object and the following is the Letter of Demand that was sent to the other side:


Trade Mark 46664
(as said "Four Triple Six Four")

The official records show that you have applied
For trade mark "46664" - so we have spied
Your wide speculation gives us no clues
Whether you will use on hats, clothes or simply just shoes.

We will at this stage refrain to mention
Whether you have the required bona fide intention
Of using the mark for your broad specification
Under the test of reasonable justification.

No - our clients are the Mandela Foundation
You must know them - you agree without hesitation
It goes further than just the client we named
Built on Nelson Mandela - and he's world famed.

Now the numeral which you are trying to claim
Is associated with Madiba - just let me explain
Whether said by word or digit - it matters no more
He's the sole owner of "Four Triple Six Four".

We all know how Madiba was caught
At the treason trial his pleas came to nought
The country was really something to cry for
Our freedom he said he was prepared to die for.

The presiding judge therefore made a finding
Passing sentence which was forever binding
Sent to Robben Island on Cape Town's foreshore
Jailed for life in cell number 46664.

Since his release we were not at all hesitant
To elect him our first democratic President
And for the Nobel there was no hesitation
For that Peace Prize based on his world reputation.

A passing-off action requires us to show
A reputation so wide that all must know
But not his name only - there has to be more
To claim ownership in number 46664.

This we beleive is easy to do
It's known far and wide - not just by a few
Robben Island has of course been proclaimed
A national monument because it's so famed.

Thus - daily there are thousands who flock
To view Robben Island from Cape Towns's dock
They get shown around prison then peep through the door
Into that notorious cell no. 46664.

So "What's in a number" do I hear you say
Well this is so special we claim if we may
A prima facie case, just as in tort
Reducing your version with problems so fraught.

Our instructions are clear and without more ado
There is only one thing that is now left for you
We call on you forthwith to withdraw
Trade mark number 46664.


Note: the trade mark application has now been withdrawn.


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