Zoo plans trademark for Yuan Zai

By Hsieh Chia-chun and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, Oct 05, 2013 - Page 3

Looking to cash in on the overwhelming popularity of the Taipei Zoo’s almost three-month old female panda, the Taipei City Government has recently announced a plan to register the cub’s name as a trademark, for the purpose of commercial merchandising and other future business arrangements.

The panda cub, nicknamed Yuan Zai (圓仔), has been the zoo’s most popular inhabitant since her birth on July 6.

She was born to female giant panda Yuan Yuan (圓圓) and her mate, Tuan Tuan (團團).

The Taipei City Government’s department of information and tourism said it would file a trademark registration, together with the zoo, for the adorable panda cub as “Giant Panda Yuan Zai” (大貓熊圓仔).

“We already have quite a number of trademarks registered based on a picture logo of a giant panda. However, this is the first case in Taiwan of a trademark application for a widely recognized individual animal,” said Lee Shu-mei (李淑美), head of the department’s trademark division.

“The name Yuan Zai has already been registered by the food industry for glutinous rice products. Therefore we are making the application for the name ‘Giant Panda Yuan Zai.’ If the application is successful, companies cannot sell any merchandise or products under that name, unless authorization has been granted by the Taipei Zoo,” Taipei City’s tourism board head Sun Tien-long (孫廷龍) said.

He said the name Yuan Zai has been the frontrunner by far in a public competition to name the panda cub and if it is still in the lead by the middle of next month, the city could decide to declare that it is the winner.

“All the papers are ready to apply for the trademark name and we would like to file the application soon, because the approval process would take several months,” Sun said.

The city government has plans for a host of merchandise featuring the panda cub, including toys, stationery, postcards, trinkets and other souvenir items.

As for members of the public who also want to register their household pet’s name, Lee said that as long as the pet’s name or its picture logo is distinctive and no other commercial product or service has been registered under that name or logo, the trademark registration could be successful.

“However, it is limited only to products or services which are open for trademark registration. Hence, your neighbor’s pet can still take on the same name as that of your household pet,” Lee said.