A district in Greater Kaohsiung is seeking to capitalize on the increasing popularity of the Taiwanese Taoist folk icon the Third Prince (Santaizi, 三太子哪吒) in recent years by trademarking an image of the deity for a variety of merchandise.
The Sanmin District (三民) Office’s application to register its “Happy Third Prince” (幸福三太子) trademark was approved earlier this month. The district office hopes the use of the trademark will help boost tourism in the area, which is home to Sunfong Temple (三鳳宮), reportedly the largest temple devoted to the Third Prince in the nation.
District office head Lo Pang-chi (駱邦吉) said it was difficult to find ways to promote the largely residential district in the center of Greater Kaohsiung, since it does not produce any specialty crops or fruit.
What it does have, in addition to the Sunfong Temple, is a 5.3km long canal that drains into the Love River (愛河). The canal was renamed the “Happy Stream” (幸福川) following a 2010 public poll.
Lo said he came up with the idea of combining the two things the district was known for — the canal and the Third Prince — to promote the area.
“That is how the ‘Happy Third Prince’ came to be,” he said. “It is a figure of local identity and a trademark we can use to boost merchandise sales, which will bring in additional revenue to the office. It will also help to promote tourism in Greater Kaohsiung.”
The office sponsored a public competition to create a modern “Happy Third Prince” image. The contest drew almost 100 entries from professional and amateur artists and designers, he said.
The panel of experts selected to judge the competition finally settled on a design by “2DQ” of a cute cartoon figure, which should appeal to young people, Lo said.
Clad in the Third Prince’s traditional headwear and red attire, the figure also carries the prince’s battle flags, while the district’s landscape fills in the background of the design.
The “Happy Third Prince” holds a “heart of love” in his left hand, with the Chinese characters for “happiness” (幸福) on it, to symbolize his work to pass on happiness to everyone, Lo said. The prince is also riding on two “fire wheels,” which is how the Third Prince moves around in folktales, Lo said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Intellectual Property Office approved the design as a trademark on July 10, Lo said, which allowed production of merchandise with the image to begin.
An official at the Sanmin District Office said the trademark was registered under Category 18, which allows its use for purses, wallets, school bags, book bags and related products, and Category 25, which covers T-shirts, hats and other clothing items.