Intoxicated by provincial stink: no chance for »Bimbo QSR«

St. Gallen / CH. (eb) Posse or April Fool’s joke? Since 2018, the world’s largest bread and baked goods group Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. has been trying to extend trademark protection for »Bimbo QSR« to Switzerland. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IGE) refuses this protection on the grounds that »Bimbo« is a highly derogatory and racist term for a person with dark skin in the German language. The registration is therefore contrary to public decency.

In a letter dated April 29, 2019, the Mexican group, represented by the law firm Baker McKenzie in Zurich, contradicted the representation: In particular, the sign element »Bimbo« is ambiguous and is understood as an Italian term for »little child« or »little boy«. The word element QSR is known to stand for Quick Service Restaurant and makes a racist connotation seem all the more absurd. In several letters from 2021 to 2023, each side insisted on its point of view. The case ended up before the Federal Administrative Court (BVG).

Anyone who thought that the BVG in St. Gallen would finally free the internationally active group from an annoying provincial posse must now be mistaken. As the BVG ruled on May 07, 2024, Grupo Bimbo’s appeal must be dismissed. The Group bears the procedural costs of 4’200 Swiss francs.

An appeal against this decision can be lodged with the Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne within 30 days of its announcement. We can only hope that the Federal Supreme Court will – at long last – recognize the extent to which the lower courts, intoxicated by provincial stink and paragraphs, have got lost into a form of bureaucratic anti-racism that is no longer comprehensible from the outside.

Below is the drama in full length directly from the BVG archive (PDF | 249 KB):