I’ve had an email from Kokopelli warning of misuse of its name on the Internet. The Association Kokopelli is an organisation pledged to maintaining plant diversity and organic standards in seed and plant production and distribution. It has been the target of law suits in France by commercial seed producers who do not want it to continue its work. Now it has been targeted again by the seed company Bamaux which has bought the rights to the name ‘kokopelli’ so that if you enter the word into the Google, Voila and Orange search engines the first item to appear is one of the Bamaux strains of tomato seeds. Websites and blogs which have Google advertisements will also find that Bamaux appears rather than the Association Kokopelli.
Kokopelli registered the name of the association when it was founded in the Ardèche in southern France in 1999, but, as the email says:
D’un point de vue éthique, nous avons refusé de déposer en avril 1999, en tant que marque commerciale, le nom Kokopelli qui est un symbole culturel millénaire chez les Amérindiens.
[From an ethical point of view, we refused to register as a trademark the name Kokopelli which is an age-old cultural symbol of the American Indians.]
Now it seems that Bamaux has registered the name as a trademark and its ‘tomate kokopelli’ has the registered trademark sign next to its name on the website. Big business and big money appear to have trampled over this small organisation. Association Kokopelli so far does not suggest how it can fight this e-threat. It simply wants to warn unsuspecting Internet users that others have hi-jacked its name, and I am passing this warning on. It’s difficult to see what can be done, as the Kokopelli e-mail concludes:
Il est donc clair que le "pacifisme" a des limites! De même pour la tolérance. Que peut faire un tolérant face à un intolérant? C'est l'éternelle question.
[It is therefore clear that ‘pacifism’ has limits! And so has tolerance. What can a tolerant person do against an intolerant one? This is the eternal question.
You can read more about this (in French) on the Association Kokopelli blog here.