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

MEXICO / 15 FEB 2013

A Facebook page tracking security updates in the northern state of Tamaulipas has been threatened by an unidentified criminal or…

DRUG POLICY / 25 OCT 2019

A pilot study in Mexico is showing promising results for measuring the frequency and type of drugs being used across the…

MEXICO / 19 AUG 2015

Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel has been linked to a scheme that used unwitting airline passengers to transport drugs, highlighting the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…