Law experts have called for more public awareness and self-discipline over the craze for usurping the names of celebrities to register trademarks.
The move came after several wise-guy attempts to register products with trademarks that sound the same as the names of national heroes or TV channels, according to People's Daily.
Early in July, a man named Li Zhenyong from Fujian Province failed in his attempt to register the trademark of China Central Television for condoms; in November, a south China businessman applied to register the name of Chinese NBA player Yao Ming as a brand for female sanitary napkins; a couple of days later, the government banned another man from selling condoms with the image of Lei Feng, a Communist hero and model worker from the 1960s.
Some people even make a living by registering celebrities' names and then trading them for money or asking for compensation if celebrities want to recover them, said Wei Zhi, associate professor from the Peking University Law School.
The People's Daily described this type of attitude as embarrassing and contrary to the nation's traditional morality, citing damage to the image of historical figures.
A citizen surnamed Liu from Changchun, capital of China's northeast Jilin Province, said her 8-year-old son thought Qu Yuan -- the great Chinese poet for whom the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated -- was a farmer because the child saw a pig feed brand bearing Qu Yuan's name.
"The loopholes in the Trademark Law must be mended and the law publicized to eradicate abusive registrations", said Xu Guanshou, a lawyer from Hangzhou, capital of southern Zhejiang Province.
(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2006)