My friend Jim passed me this article from an online Japanese paper on Taiwanese and Chinese firms registering Japanese names as trademarks.

Chinese and Taiwanese firms also have submitted applications to Chinese authorities to use Japanese regional brands including Matsusaka-ushi beef and Naruto Kintoki sweet potato as trademarks, a JETRO official said.

The Japanese local specialties have been designated by the government’s Patent Office as regional brands to stimulate local economies.

Once a name is registered as a trademark, one cannot newly register the same designation unless the original trademark holder officially surrenders ownership of the brand name.

An official of the Beijing JETRO office warned that Japanese regional brands should urgently check into whether they should lodge protests with Chinese authorities to protect their trademarks that Chinese or Taiwanese firms have already registered or are planning to register.

Last month, the Kagoshima prefectural government filed a complaint with Chinese authorities against a Chinese firm that had registered the name Kagoshima as its trademark.

According to the Beijing JETRO official, as of the end of December, Chinese or Taiwanese firms had registered 36 of Japan’s 47 prefectural names as trademarks, with the name Kyoto seeing the greatest number of registrations at 93.

Most companies using Japanese brands are Chinese firms, although individuals also did so.

By using Japanese brands as trademarks, Chinese firms can benefit free of charge from name recognition to raise their products’ prices when marketing them in China.

Anyone out there remember back in the day, when Japanese firms used unscrupulous patent strategies to attack US firms…. Got no sympathy for the Japanese….

Speaking of East Asian economies, last week the Taiwan CEPD prepared a report on Taiwan’s economic achievements under the two Chen Administrations (online in PDF, Chinese). The report notes that while South Korea average better economic growth over the entire period, 2000-08, from 2004-07 Taiwan beat South Korea in economic growth. Just another example of how much more successful we’d be if could only imitate South Korea….. the Taipei Times also pointed out another aspect of the report:

Wu said overall expenditure on research and development-related sectors went up from 1.98 percent in 1999 to 2.58 percent in 2006.

“Although the government increased budgets earmarked for technology development each year, the growth rate was limited by the legislature. The proposed budget was cut by 8.7 percent in 2005 and another 7.9 percent in 2006,” Wu told a press conference following the meeting.

As I’ve repeatedly noted, the KMT dominated legislature screwed Taiwan and put the onus on Chen Shui-bian. Here is yet another example….