• Kyodo


The Patent Office has rejected a request by a maker of pachinko pinball machines to register the names of 35 famous people — ranging from Adolf Hitler to Moses — as trademarks, the company and a patent lawyers’ group said Tuesday.

The office rejected the application for Hitler and the others in May. The manufacturer said that the use of Hitler’s name would violate the spirit of Japan’s pacifist Constitution.

The rejection was mainly based on a provision in the Trademark Law, which bans approval of a trademark that might be considered to harm public order and morals.

Also among the famous figures chosen were Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China’s Qin Dynasty, Confucius and Thomas Edison.

Other figures included prominent people in Japanese history, such as Kukai, a Buddhist priest, Prince Shotoku, and three samurai Takeda Shingen, Saigo Takamori and Oishi Kuranosuke.

Yasuhiko Oshimoto, head of the secretariat of the Japan Trademark Association, said that using Hitler as a trademark could be taken as implicit praise of the dictator and might spark protests.

The manufacturer said it wanted to apply for trademark registration to gain an edge over other companies.

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