The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Friday, 27 February 2015

The next celebrity zoo animal? Polar bear Knut's little half-brother is looking for a name...

This Kat is spending part of her coveted lunch time to write on one of her dearest topics (see earlier IPKat posts here): the late polar bear Knut - arguably the "first celebrity zoo animal" - and centre of numerous alluring trade mark issues and intriguing trade mark disputes.

Our readers may recall Knut's rise to stardom and his evolution into a lifestyle "brand", from cuddly cub to famous celebrity zoo animal with a massive marketing machine until his untimely death at the age of four at Berlin zoo in March 2010. German media now reports that a polar bear cub born at the zoo of Rostock, northeastern Germany, in December 2014 may be the next polar bear "superstar". US based news outlet CNN already called the cub "adorable", so that international fame might indeed be in reach...

Knut - in his heyday
History appears to be repeating itself in other ways too: Rostock zoo has decided to involve the general public in naming the cub and is asking for suggestions to be emailed to the zoo's press department until 10 March 2015.  Only condition, it needs to be a "nordic sounding" name, such as Knut or Lars.

Now, it seems like it was only yesterday when I was writing my tongue in cheek article "Knut, Flocke, and Co: the bear facts revealed"; JIPLP 2008, pages 764-774, (still available in full here).  In that article I wrote about the dangers of so-called ‘public naming campaigns’ and how not taking trade mark protection seriously at an early stage when marketing the birth of high-profile zoo animals can result in serious problems.  Infamously, Knut's name, which had also been determined by a public naming campaign, had been leaked to the media before Berlin zoo had filed for trade mark protection.  Let's hope Rostock zoo has learnt a lesson and has its IP in place before going public with the "nordic" name.  By the way, I propose to give the cub the lovely Scandinavian name Birger....

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