Siemens abandons plans to register Nazi Zyklon name

LONDON - German industrial giant Siemens has abandoned plans to register the trademark 'Zyklon', which was the name of the poison gas used to exterminate Jews in Nazi death camps in the Holocaust during the Second World War.

Siemens made its application to trademark Zyklon in the US last year, but has since withdrawn it following outrage from Jewish groups. Zyklon B was the name of the poisonous gas used in German-run death camps including those at Majdanek and Auschwitz.

The application to the US Patent & Trademark Office to register Zyklon as a brand trademark was made by Siemens consumer products operation Bosch Siemens Hausgeraete. It filed two applications, according to a BBC report, one of which was for a range of home products, including gas ovens.

Dr Shimon Samuels, head of the European arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said: "Siemens should know better because it was directly complicit in the use of slave labour. This is a major, major scandal."

The public highlighting of the application comes as a huge embarrassment for the German firm, which is already having to finally play compensation to victims for its use of slave labour under the Nazis. In all, Germany is expected to pay more than £3.5bn in compensation to victims and their families.

A spokesman for Siemens said: "We are very sorry if this trademark application has caused any offence."

The case follows the exposure last week of German sportswear firm Umbro being forced to apologise for a brand of trainer called Zyklon.

But despite its apology and insistence that it has no designs to use the name in the US, Siemens already uses the Zyklon name in Germany where the word translates as "Cyclone".

In Germany, the firm uses the 'brand name' for some Siemens vacuum cleaners.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

Subscribe to Campaign from just £57 per quarter

Includes the weekly magazine and quarterly Campaign IQ, plus unrestricted online access.


Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

1 How Sainsbury's ads revolutionised the UK's food culture

Abbott Mead Vickers' press ads for Sainsbury's in the 1980s formed the most influential and culturally significant campaign the UK has ever produced, argues Paul Burke.

Just published