According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database, three federal trademark applications were filed for CECIL THE LION during the last week of July; an application for simply CECIL is also pending before the PTO.
Cecil, who lived in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, was killed last month in an illegal hunting expedition. He has since received significant media coverage.
The applications come as no surprise; individuals and companies have filed trademark applications in attempts to capitalize on other newsworthy stories and accompanying rallying cries such as BOSTON STRONG and OCCUPY WALL STREET.
The Cecil applications cover goods ranging from clothing to toys to charitable fundraising services.
Ty Inc., the maker of Beanie Babies, filed its CECIL application to cover bean bags and plush toys. It plans to sell a Cecil Beanie Baby to benefit the Wildlife Conservation Unit.
While you need to permission to secure a trademark registration on an individual’s name, that rule does not apply to animals. Still, the Patent and Trademark Office will not issue a trademark registration until the applicant proves it is using the mark in commerce on or in connection with its goods or services, so it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, receives federal trademark rights in Cecil’s name.