Posted by Joel Martinsen on Wednesday, May 11, 2005 at 5:29 PM
The Yuchao Company tried to register 藏 as a trademark for beer back in 2000, and was rejected on the grounds that 藏 is the abbreviation for 西藏, Tibet. It reapplied, and was again rejected.
So the company sued the trademark office, lost, and appealed. It argues that, while 藏 may be commonly used as an abbreviation for Tibet, it has other meanings as well, and the abbreviation has no legal standing unless the National People's Congress declares it as such.
According to a representative of the trademark committee quoted in an article in The Beijing News, this is the first time an applicant has sued after being rejected because of a geographic name.
Note: Older trademarks were grandfathered in, which is why Tsingtao, Harbin, and all those other locally-named beers can go after their imitators. Taiwan Beer has also faced geography-related problems in entering the mainland market, as this case study [English] shows.
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!