The famous Maasai tribe battles to claim legal rights to its name | The Verge
The Maasai people are one of the best known tribes in Africa, and their name has been used to brand everything from pens to car accessories to designer clothes. A group of elders, led by Lawrence ole Mbelati, is now trying to claim rights to the brand and receive licensing fees from companies like Louis Vuitton and Jaguar Land Rover. He’s been working with a New Zealand nonprofit for four years to try to solidify the tribe’s legal claim to the intellectual property, as detailed in a new Bloomberg Businessweek report. While their legal argument may be weak, there’s precedent for large corporations to acknowledge a tribe’s right to its name and pay fees for its use. And the Maasai could use it: leaders are hoping to help improve water supplies with whatever money they can get.