In planning to register a trademark, the name ‘bin Laden’ probably wouldn’t be near the top of most lists. Not so, it seems, for a number of businessmen in Zhejiang province.
The China Daily reports that, just hours after the Al Qaeda leader’s death had been announced, 100 shopkeepers had filed applications to trademark his name. Xu Jie, director of a trademark agency in Yiwu (a bustling trading city, see WiC9) said he was inundated with requests. “Online shopkeepers accounted for a large proportion,” said Xu. “They wanted to use it mainly for toys and masks.” But he also says applicants were looking for an eye-catching trademark that would get them noticed in foreign markets. Whether that logic would have led to increased sales or not, Xu was quick to add that no such trademarks had been granted. “Such applications are not within the framework of China’s Trademark Law, so I advised them to give it up.” According to the rules, names that might have “negative effects” cannot be trademarked.
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