Pageant held, stripped of ‘Miss Ethiopia’ tag
- Latest pageant dubbed Miss SupraNational Ethiopia
As Sheraton Addis hosted a beauty pageant last night, the high court at Lideta heard mere hours before the program commenced that the organizers cannot use the name ‘Miss Ethiopia’ to crown the victor. That came after Murad Mohammed, an entrepreneur and an on and off beauty pageant organizer argued in court that he has an exclusive ownership to the name ‘Miss Ethiopia’. Murad’s move forced the organization to brand their event ‘Miss SupraNational Ethiopia’.
He argued 26-year-old Hiwot Bekele, a former beauty pageant turned fashion designer and the person behind last night’s program had infringed on the intellectual property rights of his brand. Not only did he ask her to stop using the Miss Ethiopia brand, he also asked the judge to stop the event from happening.
The judge allowed the program to proceed, while putting a stop on the use of the brand from use last night. However, the event went on with hundreds of people in attendance.
“She simply cut-and-pasted the entirety of our organization to her benefit”, Murad told The Reporter.
The court also heard that the Miss Ethiopia brand is not owned by a single entity or company yet. Its patent is said to be still pending. Murad argued his long association with the brand for a decade gave him rights than anyone, while Hiwot provided a document that proved her partnership with Wesene Hailu, a Miss Ethiopia from decades ago who had registered the name and paid all the necessary costs but not hosted a beauty pageant in 20 years as a right to the use of the name.
Hiwot expressed her dismay to The Reporter with the decision not to use the name last night but promised to hold a press conference in the coming days to explain her side of the story and challenge Murad’s assertion he is the owner to the name in court.
“I am a person of character and experience and someone who wants to help build the local beauty pageant industry,” she said.
Murad complained her effort is focused in the capital, while he attempts to organize a beauty pageant that is reflective of all the geographical locations of the country.
KANA TV, thought to be increasingly interested in televising beauty pageants like its sister stations in Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates confirmed it is in early stage of oral discussion with both to host their events at unspecified date.
The popular broadcaster confirmed, it acknowledges the Murad group as owners of the Miss Ethiopia brand, while Hiwot’s to be the Miss Ethiopia Grand Slam.
Murad told The Reporter, should Hiwot decides to use even the ‘Miss Ethiopia Grand Slam’ name, he will sue first thing Monday morning, as he contends; he is also the rightful owner of ‘Miss Ethiopia Grand Slam’.
“I hosted a Miss Ethiopia Grand Slam in 2014”, he said. “The words Miss Ethiopia cannot be used next to each other.”