Malaysian Company Seeks Trademark For MH17 Crash

MH17 Plane Crash
(Photo : Getty Images) Wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 lies in a field on July 22, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine


It's not big secret that the big business can be a little insensitive at times. So should we be surprised to hear that one company is already trying to bank on a very recent, very deadly tragedy? Not really.

Less than one day after the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed into eastern Ukraine - killing all 298 passengers aboard - a largely unknown company called Remit Now International applied to the Australian Trade Marks Office to have the term "MH17" trademarked.

Remit Now International is a Malaysian company based in Kuala Lampur,. The company applied for a trademark for "MH17" mere hours after the July 18 crash. They are seeking Class 41 services, which covers film production, online games, game shows, video games, educational texts, magazines, exhibition, curatorial and gallery services and live performances.  

This would give the company the ability to stop others from using the same name or similar trademark within the country. So should anyone want to make a documentary, or feature film about the accident, they would either have to leave out the term "MH17," or would have to pay the company for the right to use it.

But things may not be so easy for Remit Now International. Four days after the crash, on July 21, Malaysian Airlines applied for its own MH17 trademark. The airline also applied for an Australian trademark for "MH370," for the plane that disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board, but were beaten out by another company, which applied for the same trademark just four days after the plane disappeared.

Kliger Partners principal lawyer Daniel Kovacs said Remit Now International could very well be awarded the trademark, since their application was submitted before Malaysian Airlines did theirs.

"In Australia, the trademark registration system operates to some extent on a 'first come first served' basis," said Mr. Kovacs.

He did add, however, "It is also possible that other grounds could be successfully argued as a basis for having Remit Now's application opposed, such as the use of brand by Remit Now being likely to cause deception and confusion, its trademark application having been made in bad faith, the trademark being scandalous or insufficiently distinctive."



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