Philip Morris trademarks the name "Marley"
A 1993 Philip Morris (PM) email confirms that PM registered the trade name "Marley" in France. Journalists at the time were suspicious that PM might have done this to prepare for the potential legalization of marijuana, a subject which had arisen in Europe around that time (according to the email). Bob Marley Music, Inc., protested the move, claiming in the press that by trademarking the name "Marley," PM was "denigrating the name of the late Bob Marley, a Jamaican reggae musician."
In the email, PM denies that they intended to use the mark with Bob Marley in mind. Their response to press inquiries about the trademark was simply, "The name 'Marley' can have a wide variety of associations." PM declined further explanation of why they chose the name, saying only that "for competitive reasons, we do not disclose our marketing plans. This includes reasons for trademark applications."
In March of 1994 (just three months after this email was written) a marketing firm produced a report for Philip Morris called "Marlboro Image Dynamics Study in the Ivory Coast 940300." The study revealed that Bob Marley was one of the two musical artists most frequently mentioned by young males in Ivory Coast when they were asked to name their favorite musicians.
- Tobacco industry Trademarking street names of marijuana
- Darienne Dennis, Philip Morris "Marley" Trademark media Email. November 4, 1993. Bates No. 2045990368