HomeNewsBriefTrademarking 'El Chapo' in Mexico
BRIEF

Trademarking 'El Chapo' in Mexico

EL CHAPO / 29 JAN 2016 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

Revelations that family members of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán have trademarked his name for commercial use have sparked a scandal in Mexico and raised questions over who, if anyone, should benefit from a criminal's "brand name." 

In 2010 and 2011 Mexico's Industrial Property Institute (IMPI by its Spanish initials) approved 24 trademark requests from El Chapo's daughter Alejandrina Gisselle Guzmán Salazar and two women listed as his wives. The approvals granted the trio rights to produce products such as clothes, jewelry and toys bearing "El Chapo" and other variations of the criminal alias, Milenio has uncovered.  

The recently recaptured El Chapo is a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking network and an organization linked to thousands of deaths, and the discovery of IMPI's trademark approvals has become a minor scandal, with local and international media picking up the story. 

Mexico's Economic Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal was quick to point out that IMPI had approved the requests during the previous administration of Felipe Calderón, not current President Enrique Peña Nieto. 

According to a separate Milenio article, IMPI has received requests to trademark numerous other names associated with Mexican organized crime, but has generally rejected them. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Organized crime-themed products and entertainment is nothing new. "Narcocorridos" or folk songs immortalizing cartel bosses and the criminal lifestyle, for example, are popular throughout Mexico and Central America. However, El Chapo is arguably the only drug trafficker since Colombia's Pablo Escobar to build up such international recognition and infamy that his image has evolved into a marketable brand.

Already, in the United States, shoppers have been able to dress in the El Chapo prison break costume for Halloween, while sales of paisley blue shirts went up after El Chapo was photographed in one next to actor Sean Penn. 

SEE ALSO: El Chapo Profile

What many find distasteful is that El Chapo's relatives could profit from a brand built on the violence and criminality that have caused so much harm in Mexico. In Colombia a similar case arose when the family of Pablo Escobar were denied the right to trademark his name.

However, while it may not be controversial to deny relatives the right to benefit from criminal misdeeds, third parties regular capitalize on these markets without much criticism -- the popularity of Netflix series "Narcos" and movies such as "Sicario" are evidence of that. And after El Chapo's recent recapture and meeting with Sean Penn, a movie based on his life seems all but inevitable. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 21 JUN 2022

A motorcycle gang, known as the Motonetos, which draws its membership from Indigenous communities is terrorizing the Mexican state of…

BARRIO 18 / 25 APR 2021

The ideas of masculinity, discrimination and homophobia within El Salvador's gangs are at the heart of "Unforgivable," a documentary who…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 10 NOV 2021

Criminal groups across western Mexico have increased their control of illegal logging, silencing landowners, government officials and even entire communities…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…