Taiwan has decided to revoke a patent registration request by China on the use of the name of the ancient Chinese thinker Confucius (孔子), intellectual property rights officials said on Wednesday.
"After careful review, we have decided to revoke such a patent registration on the grounds that Confucius is a historical figure and his name should be considered a general term," said Hung Shu-min (洪淑敏), head of the Patent Section under the Intellectual Property Rights Bureau.
Her comment came after protests by local academics who lashed out at the bureau for approving in April the patent application by the Chinese language promotion center under China's Education Department.
The academics said it is absurd for the bureau to approve such an application as the name Confucius is commonly used in Taiwan and other parts of the Chinese-speaking world.
They said the approval would mean all publications in Taiwan must take out that name.
Hung, however, said such a name could still be used in textbooks or other publications even if the patent application is approved.
Only those who want to use the name for an organization or any other registration would not be allowed, she said.
She said her office merely gave initial approval for the application, but after further review, it decided such an application was improper and it had already notified the applicant that her office would reject the application.
Confucius, or Master Kung, who lived from 551BC to 479BC, was a Chinese thinker and philosopher whose teachings have exerted strong influence in thought and life in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
He emphasized morality, social justice and integrity.