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Saturday, 23 October 2004


The Japan Times reports that the Japanese Patent Office has refused to register the names of 35 famous people as trade marks for pinball machines. The names include Adolf Hitler, the Hebrew prophet Moses, Kukai, a Buddhist priest, Prince Shotoku, and three samurai Takeda Shingen, Saigo Takamori and Oishi Kuranosuke. The refusal was based on the fact that the registration of certain of the names would be counter to Japan’s pacifist constitution and the provision of Japanese trade mark law which prohibits the registration of trademarks that might be considered to harm public order and morals.

The IPKat’s masters have already considered what the best approach is to the registration of politically offensive trade marks at [2004] EIPR 327. If anyone would like a copy of the article, please email

More on pinball here, here

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