‘Hakuna Matata’ and Other Unlikely Trademarked Phrases

‘Hakuna Matata’ and Other Unlikely Trademarked Phrases

In recent days angry opinion pieces have sprung up in Kenyan media over the well-known Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata”.

The phrase translated means “no problems” or “no worries” and is a common expression throughout east Africa.

But to the rest of the world, it’s best known as a song from the Lion King – and Walt Disney registered a trademark for the phrase for their merchandise.

Some Kenyan newspapers have accused the company of stealing from Kenyan culture by claiming ownership of the phrase.

However the trademark they’re talking about is itself not new – US records show it was first filed back in 1994 coinciding with the movie’s original release.
The row has likely come up now as hype around the film’s live action remake brews.

It follows a similar incident where Fiji’s government said it would fight a US bar’s trademark over “bula” – one of their national greetings.