Maya Archaeology Initiative, a nonprofit project of the California-based World Free Press Institute has been accused by Kellogg Co. of trademark infringement. According to Kellogg Co. their toucan logo (left) resembles the Toucan Sam character (under).
Maya Archaeology Initiative does not share this opinion and said its toucan originates from a real toucan while Kellogg’s Toucan Sam is a cartoon character. “This is a bit like the Washington Redskins claiming trademark infringement against the National Congress of American Indians,” said the president of the Maya Archaeology Initiative in a statement.
Why the hassle then? Well, The World Free Press Institute applied in June 2010 for a trademark of the toucan logo, amongst others for clothing, an important license product of Toucan Sam.
Kellogg is concerned that the initiative’s logo uses Mayan imagery, “given that our character is frequently depicted in that setting” and asked Maya Archaeology Initiative several actions to avoid litigation. In a response the legal council of the Maya Initiative wrote to Kellogs:
“There is nothing Mayan in (the Froot Loops) Adventure,” (a marketing and online game). “Adventure and games are insulting to Mesoamerican indigenous peoples and are demeaning stereotypes.”
Source: Detroit News
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”