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SBD Global/August 31, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

China's Trademark Industry Is Receiving Criticism On The Misuse Of Olympians' Names

Trademark registrants are "exploiting the popularity of successful domestic and overseas Chinese athletes" following the London Games by rushing to register the right to use their names, according to XINHUA. The business tactic "is increasingly being questioned in China." The practice is often referred to as "qiangzhu" in Mandarin, meaning "rush to register," causing criticism to center around companies or individuals buying the rights "with the intention of cynically selling them onto other entities wishing to use the famous names in marketing." CCTV reported that two Chinese swimsuit companies applied to use the names of swimming Gold Medalists Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen as early as summer last year, without the swimmers' approval. According to the China Trademark Office, the swimmers' names "were the subject of a trademark application last August." Of all the trademarks passed by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, China's 110m hurdler Liu Xiang has received 48 applicants, Asian-American NBA player Jeremy Lin is the subject of 229 applications, while the Chinese characters for retired NBA player Yao Ming  feature in 110 (XINHUA, 8/30).
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