Olympic gold medalist fights for naming rights
Mete Gazoz, a Turkish athlete who claimed the gold medal at the Olympic Games this summer by winning the individual men’s title at archery, has found himself in the middle of an interesting battle after a company bought the patent rights over his name to produce cold beverages.
The 22-year-old archer, whose surname means “fizzy drink” in English, got a nationwide reputation after he bagged Turkey’s first Olympic medal in archery, a sport where fierce concentration is the watchword and South Koreans usually monopolize the titles.
Gazoz family, which has been carrying out a series of branding works for the young archer since 2016, decided to expand the scope of these efforts after the extraordinary success in the Olympics, deciding to include new products registered in the name of the athlete.
In line with these efforts, Meral Gazoz, mother of the athlete, decided to apply to the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TPE) on Aug. 9, however, she was surprised when she found out that someone has already applied for the fizzy drink category and registered Mete’s name.
According to the records of the institution, the owner of the application dated Aug. 4 was a person named Ömer Çetin, who is not related to the Gazoz Family.
The records also revealed that the company applying on behalf of Çetin wanted to register the ‘Mete Gazoz’ brand in the beer, energy drink and fizzy drink category.
The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office partially accepted Çetin’s application after its examination, acknowledging that the firm can produce and sell fizzy drinks under the name of Mete Gazoz, but rejecting the application for the category of beer and energy drinks.
Eventually, Meral Gazoz’s application was rejected by the institution because an application was previously accepted in the fizzy drinks category.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, Meral Gazoz noted that they did not know Çetin and that they had no kinship ties.
“There is obviously bad intention here. He wants to take advantage of the fame of Mete Gazoz’s name. Maybe he will try to sell the brand named after my son to us in the future,” she noted.
Etkin Patent Marka, the company which made trademark and patent applications on behalf of Mete Gazoz, has announced that it would object to the registration process.
Ömer Çetin, who was called to get his opinion, could not be reached.
Meanwhile, Ufuk Sezekkaplan, a trademark law expert, said that the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office acted wrongly in accepting the application.
“It is not right to commodify the names of loved ones that are known to everyone. The main task of the institution is to prevent such situations,” he said.