MEXICO CITY Donald Duck has chased off a
Mexican look-alike after a trademark dispute that simmered for
decades between Disney and a beverage maker that copied the
hot-headed cartoon character for its logo in 1940.
Pascual Boing, known in Mexico for tropical fruit drinks
like mango and guayaba, is ditching its old logo based on Walt
Disney Co.'s sailor-suited duck in favor of a rapper-style duck
with spiky feathers and a blue baseball cap worn backward.
The updated character still will be known as Pato Pascual
(Pascual Duck) and the beverage cooperative already has printed
the new logo on some of its packaging. Alfonso Sanchez, No. 2
on the Pascual Boing board, said the company was replacing
logos on its trucks and staff uniforms with the new design.
"The dispute hasn't been decided one way or the other but
we wanted to bring this face, which is years old, up to date,"
he said. "The new one is similar but younger.
"It was time to modernize the logo."
A Pascual Boing spokesman explained the logo change by
saying, "To avoid ending up with a more complicated situation,
court cases and everything, we decided to modify the logo."
Disney declined to comment.
Pascual Boing adopted a logo identical to Donald Duck just
as the spluttering white-feathered star was challenging Mickey
Mouse's popularity in the United States and making waves in
Mexico with his famously mercurial character.
It got away with it for 40 years but a trademark dispute
blew up about 30 years ago, just as Pascual Boing was battling
massive new competition from U.S. fizzy cola drinks.
After a court case in Mexico, Pascual Boing altered Pato
Pascual very slightly so it could keep the logo, the company
spokesman said. But a few years ago Disney renewed its
objections and said the duck still looked too much like Donald.
About the same time as the battle over its duck began,
Pascual Boing was struck in the 1980s by a bitter labor dispute
that led to workers taking control and transforming it into a
cooperative. Today it has a workforce of about 5,000 and has
clung onto 15 percent of Mexico's soft drinks market.
Mexicans are among the world's biggest guzzlers of sugary
drinks and increasingly shun natural fruit beverages for
Coca-Cola's Coke, Sprite and apple-flavored Manzanita Lift or
PepsiCo Inc.'s Pepsi Cola and Manzanita Sol.