What do you do when entire nations, if not the whole planet, are grieving over disasters that have claimed hundreds of innocent lives? If you’re Seyefull Investments Ltd, you try to trademark it.
Seyefull Investments, operating out of the Central American country of Belize, tried to register the terms “MH17” and “MH370” as the company’s trademarks – meaning if anyone uses those terms in print or radio, or on TV or in movies, or (heaven forbid) online, Seyefull would get a royalty cheque.
The company’s application to register “MH17” as one of its trademarks, in fact, was filed on July 17, aka the exact same day Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The application for “MH370” was made on May 2, after a more “respectful” period of time had passed since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The application for “MH17” was filed on the European Trade Mark and Design Network website, while details for the “MH370” application was found on the Justia Trademarks site.
Digital News Asia (DNA) reports, “The scope of usages listed within both applications is wide ranging.
“From conferences, exhibitions and competitions; to education and instruction, and entertainment services (namely, the provision of continuing programmes, segments, movies, and shows delivered by television, radio, satellite and the Internet).”
Intellectual property lawyer and DNA columnist Foong Cheng Leong says that trademark rights are limited to products and goods included in the proprietor’s application – and according to Seyefull’s application, it seems the company is taking its claim on everything.
“Here, the applicant is registering the mark MH17 for all sorts of products in the European Union. By being the registered proprietor, they have the rights over the mark [when it comes to] the registered goods and services in the European Union.
“They may stop people from using the mark or ask for payment in the European Union,” Foong said.
While the process of registering the flight numbers of crashed aircraft might be completely legit, and Seyefull Investments Ltd might actually succeed in their attempt to make money off any mention of “MH17” and “MH370”, it still remains a fact that this is an ugly, opportunistic attempt at cashing in on the suffering and pain of thousands of grieving family members and millions of people worldwide – not to mention the ended lives of the hundreds of people on board both doomed jetliners.
But yeah, good luck on those trademark applications.