Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Clinton And Lewinsky Condom

The former US president is known for many things among the Chinese public, including his sexual peccadilloes and promotion of AIDS awareness and prevention. But he may be surprised to know that his monicker is now being used as a brand name by a condom manufacturer in southern China - together with that of Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern with whom he had an affair.

Guangzhou Haojian Biotech Company recently announced the launch of the Clinton and Lewinsky brands of condoms. General manager Liu Wenhua proudly declared that his was the first company in China to have registered an international celebrity's name as a trademark.

No, he did not need to pay a single penny to use the names, he explained, because these are just "ordinary Western names". Both brands are for males, with the former priced at 29.8 yuan (US$3.7) for a pack of a dozen and the latter 18.8 yuan (US$2.3) a dozen. The "Clinton" is for the upscale market while the "Lewinsky" for the mass market, Liu elaborated.

As if this were not enough to raise a few eyebrows, Liu claimed that since last April, when the company could legally use the former president's name, he had received an offer of 10 million yuan (US$1.23 million) from a Beijing company for a transfer of name rights. "I said 'No way.' We're not selling the brands for any price."

The condom packet comes with a card inside - one side is a picture, in classic Chinese style, depicting an erotic pose, and on the other an adult-themed joke. One needs to buy 12 packs before collecting the whole set of cards. It is intended to publicize a "healthy adult culture" and "impart knowledge about sex and love," said Liu.

Yao Jun, a Guangzhou-based attorney for H.J.M. International Law Offices, which specializes in intellectual property rights issues, doubts the claim that the two brands are registered.

"Filing for registration and being registered are two different things." Yao told China Daily that the law stipulates that no trademark should violate public interest or the existing value system. "The Clinton and Lewinsky brands can be rejected on these grounds." Enditem

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