Registration of Personal Names in the PRC

Written by Jordi Llopis


Personal names are intangible assets which are used more and more often by enterprises, as they increasingly rely onrepparttar market appeal of famous people to sell products. Many personal names have a high level of recognition and awareness at all levels of society and as a result can have a high economic value. In practice, oncerepparttar 119174 status of fame is reached,repparttar 119175 name may be used in many commercial activities with a fair prospect of profitable business.

When Michael Jordan’s name was once used in Nike products, within a certain period of time, fans and consumers alike stopped saying ‘I am wearing a pair of Nikes’, and instead began saying ‘I have a pair of Jordans’, eventually turning this model of Nike basketball shoes into a powerful brand. Jordan’s brand has since been extended to a wider range of products and even services (restaurants). Many other famous people or celebrities allow their names to be used in connection with perfumes and other products. Such products connote a feeling, an experience of success, andrepparttar 119176 image ofrepparttar 119177 person lending their name.

Inrepparttar 119178 People’s Republic of China, famous people also register their names as trademarks; however, in China,repparttar 119179 successful registration of a personal name depends on its cultural value as well as its market appeal. In some cases, people associate a given name with values and moral standards, which could eventually frustraterepparttar 119180 effort to register withrepparttar 119181 Chinese Trademark Office, asrepparttar 119182 Lu Xun case illustrates.

The Lu Xun Case Lu Xun is a famous writer in China, who was born in Shaoxing, East China's Zhejiang province on Sept. 25, 1881. Shaoxing is a Chinese geographic location known for its famous yellow wine (绍兴黄酒). Some of his literary works are required reading for all Chinese students who attend middle school throughout China.

Needless to say, Lu Xun (as far as I know) never attempted to apply for registration of his personal name as a trademark before he died back in 1936. As a historical note,repparttar 119183 first Chinese Trademark Law was enacted underrepparttar 119184 Qing Dynasty in 1904.

In 2001, Lu Xun’s grandson founded a wine company, which he named after his grandfather. He also filed an application to register Lu Xun as a liquor brand on behalf ofrepparttar 119185 family. The application was rejected byrepparttar 119186 Trademark Office, which also prohibited any commercial activity concerning Lu Xun. The grounds for refusing its registration wasrepparttar 119187 contention that it is ‘improper’ to userepparttar 119188 name of one of modern China’s greatest writers for commercial activities. The Trademark Office alleged that as a public figure, Lu Xun’s fame is not only owned by his family, but byrepparttar 119189 whole of society.

The applicants have appealed torepparttar 119190 Trademark Review and Adjudication Board. They also successfully registered a trademark using simplyrepparttar 119191 characters for Lu Xun in Japan in October 2001. Also in China, an art school successfully registered Lu Xun as a word mark, butrepparttar 119192 trademark comprised more Chinese characters than merely those of Lu Xun (鲁迅艺术学院)(in English, Lu Xun Art School). We set outrepparttar 119193 options for Lu Xun’s descendants and those wishing to register personal names, in general.

1. Options underrepparttar 119194 Amended Copyright Law ofrepparttar 119195 PRC

Personality Rights As an author of literary works, Lu Xun was entitled to both personality and property rights. Whilerepparttar 119196 latter have a term of protection of 50 years afterrepparttar 119197 author’s death,repparttar 119198 former are unlimited in time. The economic rights expired a long time ago.

According torepparttar 119199 Regulations forrepparttar 119200 Implementation ofrepparttar 119201 Copyright Law ofrepparttar 119202 PRC,repparttar 119203 inheritance of economic rights contained in copyright shall be executed in accordance withrepparttar 119204 Law of Inheritance. Chinese morality and social customs suggest that Lu Xun’s descendants haverepparttar 119205 obligation to maintainrepparttar 119206 reputation of their ancestor, an obligation which –withrepparttar 119207 economic rights having expired- can only be carried out throughrepparttar 119208 enforcement of his personality rights beforerepparttar 119209 courts. But personality rights compriserepparttar 119210 right of authorship, alteration of one’s work andrepparttar 119211 right of integrity (protection against distortion and mutilation), which are not pertinent torepparttar 119212 present case.

Also, according to Article 9 ofrepparttar 119213 General Principles of Civil Laws, “A citizen shall haverepparttar 119214 capacity for civil rights from birth to death and shall enjoy civil rights and assume civil obligations in accordance withrepparttar 119215 law”. It is clear then, that only a living person can enjoyrepparttar 119216 right to determine, use, or change his/her personal name; his descendants may only inherit those property rights deriving fromrepparttar 119217 name forrepparttar 119218 limited period of time stated inrepparttar 119219 PRC Copyright Law.

Authorship Another key issue, moreover, is that copyright protection extends only to “original works of authorship.” Article 3 states clearlyrepparttar 119220 kinds of works that can be protected by copyright. To be protected by copyright, a work must contain at least a certain minimum amount of authorship inrepparttar 119221 form of original literary, musical, pictorial, or graphic expression. Names, titles, and other short phrases do not meet these requirements and, therefore, are not entitled to copyright protection, even ifrepparttar 119222 name, title, or short phrase is novel, distinctive and/or lends itself to a play on words.

Becauserepparttar 119223 trademark registered byrepparttar 119224 art school does not refer to any of Lu Xun’s works over which to claim authorship,repparttar 119225 descendants are defenceless in this respect.

The descendants can claim copyright through neither economic nor personality rights, only through a bare moral and social obligation to respect and defendrepparttar 119226 reputation of Lu Xun. Authorship is a personality right, and as such is enforceable no matterrepparttar 119227 time, as opposed to economic rights, which expire 50 years afterrepparttar 119228 author’s death.

2. Options underrepparttar 119229 Amended Trademark Law ofrepparttar 119230 PRC

The Trademark Law ofrepparttar 119231 People’s Republic of China, Article 8, provides a definition of what signs may constitute a mark, whether a trade, service, collective or certification mark:

“Any visible sign capable of distinguishingrepparttar 119232 goods of a natural person, legal person, or other organization from those of others, including words, graphs, letters, numerals, three-dimensional signs and combinations of colours as well as combinations of foregoing elements”.

The Country’s Trademark Law has no provisions forbiddingrepparttar 119233 adoption of famous names as trademarks. Practice indicates, however, thatrepparttar 119234 personal name which is to be applied for trademark registration must have a clear connection withrepparttar 119235 name and with what it represents. In this respect, for instance, any athlete known torepparttar 119236 people may register his name as a sportswear brand.

Claiming Sexual Harassment

Written by Maui Reyes

If you’ve already approached your employer aboutrepparttar sexual harassment that took place and was not given proper attention, or believe that your company’s policy does not treat your case fairly, then you may consider other options.

You can file a Title IX complaint withrepparttar 119173 office for Civil Rights. This can be found atrepparttar 119174 United States Department of education. Title IX covers all students and employees of institutions that are granted federal aid. You don’t need a lawyer to file a complaint. However, when you decide to sue, you will need an attorney to file a Title IX lawsuit.

You can also file a Title VII complaint withrepparttar 119175 local Equal Employment Opportunity Center office, or with whatever agency in your state or community that handles fair employment practices. Again, you don’t need a lawyer to file a complaint. If investigations render unsatisfactory results, then you can proceed to file a civil lawsuit for damages under Title VII orrepparttar 119176 agency that handles fair employment practices—to do so, you are often needed to be grantedrepparttar 119177 permission to do so byrepparttar 119178 EEOC.

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