Chinese company applies to trademark Shohei Ohtani’s name, says they don’t know who he is

Chinese company applies to trademark Shohei Ohtani’s name, says they don’t know who he is
via MLB
Bryan Ke
March 1, 2024
A Chinese clothing company without any apparent connection to Shohei Ohtani or the MLB reportedly applied to trademark the baseball star’s name for its products in December.
Breaking the news: Japanese news outlet TBS Network reported the discovery on Tuesday, revealing that the company, located in China’s Fujian province, had applied to trademark Ohtani’s name, which it plans to use on its clothes, swimwear and other products.
When it happened: The application’s registration with the China National Intellectual Property Administration reportedly began on Dec. 13, 2023, a few days after the 29-year-old two-way MLB All-Star signed a historic 10-year $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The trademark application for “Shohei Ohtani.” Image via China National Intellectual Property Administration
What the company is saying: When asked if they knew Ohtani and if the trademark was related to the baseball star, a representative from the company reportedly responded, “Who is Ohtani?”
While they acknowledged that they did submit to6
5trademark Ohtani’s name, the representative reportedly said they were unaware that the man is a famous baseball player and uncertain whether it was necessary to seek his permission.
Why it matters: Yasuhiko Oshimoto, director of Oshimoto Patent and Trademark Office, told TBS Network that if the trademark gets approved, the company may legally ask other entities selling products labeled “Shohei Ohtani” for money. This could escalate into more companies registering trademarks in other fields, such as baseball equipment.
Not just Ohtani: Aside from the baseball star, TBS Network reported that the same company had also attempted to trademark several luxury brand names with their letters rearranged, including Bulgari, Hermes and Cartier.
Similar cases: Japanese skating superstar Yuzuru Hanyu, also known as Japan’s “Ice Prince,” and Eileen Gu, a U.S.-born freeskier Olympic gold medalist, have also had their names reportedly trademarked in China without their consent in the past. Another famous case involved the name of Michael Jordan, which resulted in years of legal battle with a Chinese retailer.
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