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Chinese-American NBA new star, Jeremy Shu-How Lin,
set off a whirlwind of public interest in basketball.
The stardom hiked Lin's market value as well.
In 2011, an insightful businessman in China filed
preemptive registration for the trademark "Jeremy SHL"
Pam Deese, Jeremy Lin's attorney in the US, said they are
prepared to protect Lin's intellectual property rights.
And Jeremy Lin has filed his own application to register
"Linsanity" as a trademark, the nickname given by his fans.
In the past two weeks, Jeremy Lin drew widespread attention
on his soaring to stardom from an unknown bench player.
The tidal wave of Linsanity boosted NBA ticket prices,
and led to a high-sale of related merchandises.
Nearly 1,000 Lin-related goods are being sold online,
like player cards and jerseys, all attracting public attention.
Whether Lin himself will benefit from this boom
is a wide concern.
Lin's jersey number with the New York Knicks is 17.
This jersey is now a best-seller at the NBA online store.
All kinds of Lin-related souvenirs are snapped up by fans.
Lin' fancy shapes up as a huge business opportunity.
Early in 2011, Yu Minjie, Wuxi-based businessman
trademarked the term "Jeremy SHL"
As a sporting goods businessman, Yu predicted Jeremy Lin
would be another shining Chinese NBA star, after Yao Ming.
Yu thus filed an application with China's Trademark Office
to register "Jeremy SHL", under two categories.
What is the commercial value of the trademark
under these two categories?
The name "Jeremy SHL" alone is worth RMB 100 million,
according to the evaluation of Forbes magazine.
Yet it merely cost Yu Minjie
RMB 4,460 for the registration.
In China Jeremy Lin will have to get Yu's authorization
before using the trademark name "Jeremy SHL"
On Feb. 14, Jeremy Lin applied in the U.S.
for the trademark "Linsanity"
The filing of "Linsanity" is reported to be used for goods,
such as clothing, toys, beverages, bags, among others.
Before Lin's own filing, two separate trademark applications
for the same term were made by Californian businessmen.
Jeremy Lin's application indicates that he resorted
to the law to safeguard his interests.
NBA's top superstar Michael Jordan
faced similar problem.
On Feb. 22, Jordan announced his infringement proceeding
against an enterprise in mainland China.
The preemptive trademark registration in China seems
abusive. Will Jeremy Lin take back his trademark rights?
Zhang, a lawyer from Tee & Howe Intellectual Property
Attorneys, says China adopts first-to-file principle for trademarks' registration.
In China, preemptive registration of foreign trademarks
is common before brands enter the market, Zhang affirms.
Zhang (lawyer): "These foreign brands certainly aren't
well-known in China prior to entering China's market.
This gives rise to a problem. That is, trademarks' registration
of some world renowned brands are forestalled in China.
This makes it hard to deal with afterwards,
that is to annul the registration."
Shi, lawyer at Shanghai-based No.1 Law Firm,
speaks of widespread piracy in China.
Intellectual property rights cannot be guaranteed.
Shi thinks the reason is due to the unsound rule of law.
Shi (lawyer): "If he abuses the trademark, producing fake
or shoddy goods that harm the goodwill of Jeremy Lin, the registration can be revoked according to the law."
Su, another lawyer of Beijing' Tee & Howe, says trademark
registration is generally granted if there is no same-term application for a congener commodity.
If it is not used after registration or some demur is raised
in the future, then a petition for invalidation can be filed.
Su (lawyer): "Legally, if the Trademark Office defines it as
a malicious preemptive registration, it's not an infringement.
But a petition for invalidation may be filed
and the registration will finally be annulled."
China has joined the International Association
for the Protection of Intellectual Property.
Due to existing hidden business rules, few international
regulations are truly followed in mainland China.
Lawyer Shi says if there is a sound rule of law and everything
is public, hidden rules will not be rampant like they are now.
NTD reporters Yi Ru, Li Ting and Xiao Yu