CHIBA--The names of more than 40 percent of Japanese cities plus the wards in Tokyo have been registered as trademarks in China, even though Chinese law stipulates that place names cannot be trademarked, according to a Chiba prefectural assembly member.
The member said at a June 21 assembly session, that of Japan’s 789 cities and Tokyo’s 23 wards, 361 of them, or 44 percent, were registered as trademarks in China.
The findings are based on data from the website of China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce Trademark Office searched with the help of Tokyo's Protection for Japanese Trademarks in China Association.
The study showed the names of 31 prefectural capitals were registered as trademarks in China, including Sendai and Kyoto, but not Tokyo and Osaka.
An official with the association suggested that many names were probably registered because they were not immediately recognized as places.
“Some (items) were nameless, so they could pass screenings, while others were registered because officials were not aware they were names of places,” an official with the association said.
From the Tokyo metropolitan area, Kawaguchi was listed under the category of alcoholic beverages, Shibuya under medical services, Koganei under machinery, appliances and machine tools, and Atsugi under clothing and footwear.
Names associated with food products also obtained trademark registrations.
Yubari, a district in Hokkaido that is known for its melons, was registered under fruits, while Ise, associated with “ise ebi,” or Japanese spiny lobster, was entered under marine products.
Uji, a city in Kyoto Prefecture noted for its green tea, was registered by a Japanese company dealing in tea products.
Chiba was registered in the category of juice, and Funabashi was linked to meat, fish and dairy products.
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