SAIC Rules Against Registration of Trademark for Japanese Noodle in China

The Trademark Office of State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the PRC (SAIC) recently ruled against the registration in China of the trademark 讃岐乌冬' for the famous Japanese noodle Sanuki Udon.
In February 2006, a Chinese applicant in Shanghai filed for the registration of the trademark “讃岐乌冬' (representing Sanuki Udon in Chinese characters) for use in restaurants and hotels. The registration, though preliminarily approved by the Trademark Office in May 2009, was challenged by three udon-related business organizations of the Kagawa prefecture within the prescribed time limit for opposition.
SAIC found in its ruling that: The mark  “讃岐乌冬' combines Sanuki, an old name of a region roughly covering present-day Kagawa prefecture in Japan, and the Japanese speciality noodle Sanuki is highly reputed for as the place of origin. The use of the mark in restaurants and hotels etc. in China is likely to cause misleading about the origin of the services provided, given the fact that Sanuki Udon has become widely known by the relevant public in China. As a result, the mark in suit failed to get the approval for registration in China.