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IPO Invalidates Indigenous Trademark

Issued: September 01 2010
Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office has invalidated the Seediq Bale trademark after opposition by the Seediq people surfaced, the IPO said September 16. The Seediq are the 14th recognized indigenous tribe in Taiwan.

The Seediq Bale mark had been registered by a film director Wei Te-sheng for a film he made with the same title. He had registered the film, a four-hour epic dramatizing a 1930s incident in which a Seediq man rebelled against Japanese military forces, with the IPO as a trademark for advertising and promotional purposes. The film, featuring a cast of 15,000, cost a reported US$19 million to make.

Opposition to the trademark was brought to light by the Cabinet-level Council for Indigenous Peoples. The IPO agreed that the term carries deep cultural significance to the indigenous group.

The IPO noted that a second trademark application for the Seediq Bale name had been filed by the Farmers Association of Sinyi Township in Nantou County; the second application will not be granted, either.

The phrase Seediq Bale means “real man” in the Seediq language.

“The word Seediq is not a commercial product. If Wei is culture-inspired rather than just a businessman, he should know how to respect an ethnic group and its name,” tribal leader Wumin Sabu told local media.


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