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Jeremy Lin's Name Trademarked in China Two Years Ago

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LIN'S-STAKE-IN IDENTITY
DailyFeed

Linsanity continues, but use of the word may not. Pretty soon, fans of the Knicks’ point guard might have to pick out one of thousands of other puns when celebrating a last minute three-pointer.

Ok, maybe not, but Lin has filed a trademark application for the word “Linsanity.” Mainly, this comes in response to attempts by two California men to preempt him on the trademark (think of it as an equally opportunistic but slightly less venal version of that Long Island couple’s effort to trademark Occupy Wall Street or Disney’s (DIS) attempt to do the same to Seal Team 6).

Legal scholars think that Lin should win his case, considering that the phrase is about him. Linsanity -- the cultural force this time, not the word -- grew a little bit this week with its subject’s unmatched in New York sports history second in a row Sports Illustrated cover.

Meanwhile, Nike (NKE), which has owned Lin’s contract since 2010 and recently extended it, is planning to launch a new shoe in his honor, according to The New York Daily News.

While Nike might feel pretty smart for locking down Lin in 2010, the company has nothing on China’s Yu Minjie. In the same year, she trademarked Lin’s Chinese name (abbreviated as Jeremy S.H.L.) for only five thousand Yuan (just under $800).

Apparently, Minjie was so impressed after seeing Lin play on television that she filed a trademark application. Her sister is quoted in China Daily saying that Yu “sensed that he would rise to fame someday.” Good guess.

Along with the rights to Lin’s name, Minjie also owns a sporting goods company based out of Wuxi, in China’s Jiangsu province. She has the right to use her trademark on sportswear, accessories, toys and balls until August 2021.

Since she filed for the trademark years before Lin became famous, Minjie should hold up against any legal challenges that come her way. Right now, and regardless of what happens in the US, if Lin wants to use “Linsanity” in China, he’ll need Minjie’s permission. The same goes for Nike.

On her end, Minjie says she doesn’t expect to make all that much money off of the trademark. Still, she has turned down offers to sell it.

Elsewhere in Chinese copyright law, the plot appears to be thickening in the Apple (AAPL) v. Proview case. A recent Bloomberg article reveals that the Bank of China may have been involved in the sale (or lack of a sale, it’s up to the court) of rights to the word iPad.
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