Facial Hair Infringement

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 25 2012 @ 9:08am

A truly Russian tale about I.V. Pugach, who trademarked his beard, "the type with no sideburns that covers just the chin and the patch above the upper lip":

He says this beard is the exclusive province — even a "racial attribute" — of the Russian people and maintains a Web site that rants about violations of his exclusive rights to it. In his opinion, misuse of the beard, which includes its being worn by non-Russians, amounts to “genocide” (his term).

"I reprimand Barak Obama for delaying the punishment of Muammar el-Qaddafi, enemy of the Russian people, for illegally wearing the beard," Pugach has written. He has also chided the French and Egyptian crowns and challenged the Russian Orthodox Church. Pugach’s Web site reads like a parody, but it also points to documents from the Russian trademark office suggesting that he may have managed to make this beard his own and that anyone who wants to wear the thing has to get a license from him. That costs about $600 a year for most individuals but roughly $30,000 for popular actors and $4 million for television channels.