The Chinese Olympic Committee has called for a halt to improper trademark registrations that use the names of Olympic athletes.
The committee posted a note on the Sina Weibo micro-blogging platform on Wednesday following recent cases in which the names of several Olympic athletes, including Yang Qian, Chen Meng and Quan Hongchan, were used in malicious trademark registrations.
Malicious trademark registrations are generally considered applications that violate the principles of legitimacy and good faith, including trademark squatting, appropriation and imitation, infringements of others' prior rights, misuse of public resources, and massive or repeated registrations in bad faith.
The committee said in the post that all sectors of society should respect the legitimate rights and interests of athletes and comply with Chinese laws, such as the Civil Code, the Trademark Law and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, when conducting commercial activities.
"Without getting permission of the Olympic athletes or guardians of minor players, anyone should not maliciously register their names as trademarks or take other actions that infringe on the rights of their names or other rights," it said.
"If such acts occur, the application for trademark registration should be suspended or withdrawn in a timely manner," it said, adding that the athletes or guardians of young players have the right to sue infringers.
According to a Southern Metropolis Daily report on Tuesday, some 20 applications for trademark registration have been made involving the name of 14-year-old Olympic diving champion Quan, mainly covering food, clothing, shoes and daily necessities.
The earliest application was on Aug 5－the day Quan won her gold medal－from a technology development company in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
Lai Peng, a Guangdong-based lawyer, told the paper that such applications could be defined as malicious registration and will be rejected by the trademark administration during review, "as they've brought a negative effect to society".
"Quan as a public figure has a right to her name," Lai said. "Applicants cannot register trademarks by harming others' rights and interests."