A man named Munemo Mushonga, who lists a North Miami address, has quite recently filed a Trademark Application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to use the name ‘George Floyd’ for the production of television and film.
According to the USPTO’s database, Mushonga filed the trademark application on 5th June 2020 with the intent of using the name in the production and distribution of television movies and shows. While the trademark application specifies Rhode Island as Mushonga’s place of residence, the street address specified is Miami, Fla., where he appears to be associated with a construction company. There isn’t any further information provided in the trademark application or otherwise corresponding to his plans in using Floyd’s name.
Mushonga neither has any known connection with the film and TV industry nor to Floyd’s family. As per various recent reports, Mushonga has not given any specific details concerning why he filed the trademark application or what are his further plans if the trademark gets approved.
According to the USPTO’s rules and regulations, if a person is willing to trademark another living person’s name, then he or she is required to get written consent from the person in question. However, now, in this scenario, since Floyd’s is no more, it is not crystal clear as to if the same rule still holds, or if Mushonga would require seeking permission from Floyd’s family members. Besides, the USPTO also states that if the person in question is of public notoriety and deceased, then the same can provide sufficient grounds for the trademark application to be rejected.
Mushonga seems to be planning to capitalize on the national outcry and protests taking place in the US after the wrongful death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on 25th May 2020. The movement has undoubtedly reached across all industries, calling on the entertainment industry, in specific, to focus on the greater representation of Black voices both off and on-screen.