Restaurant trademark ‘invalidated’ due to ‘satirizing’ Chinese soccer team
Published: May 26, 2021 06:08 PM
Guozu stinky tofu restaurant Photo: IC

Guozu stinky tofu restaurant Photo: IC

The trademark of a popular stinky tofu restaurant in Beijing combining two characters that literally read "slapping" and "foot" has been invalidated by a court due to potentially "satirizing" the Chinese national soccer team. 

The local court said the use of the trademark on stinky tofu-related products shows a tendency to "derogate and satirize China's national soccer team," and could easily have a negative effect on the team, according to a report from The Paper.

It explained that the two characters that form the trademark have the same pronunciation as "national soccer," and the meaning of the first character, which is "to slap," involves "violent elements."

The players in the Chinese national soccer team are frequently mocked by Chinese netizens as having "stinky feet" whenever the team loses a game. 

The restaurant owner said the legal dispute over the trademark has lasted for three years. 

He said the design of the trademark, registered in 2013, was indeed intended as "a bit of a tease", but it has now gained a new meaning after the restaurant became popular through nearly 1,000 direct and franchise stores across the country. 

"Attention should not be paid to the trademark, but the food," he said, noting that the restaurant did not intend to be derogatory to the soccer team.

Netizens expressed support for the restaurant, with some launching another wave of jibes at the national team.

"What is the satire about? At least the stinky tofu tastes good despite being stinky, while the national soccer team is stinky only," read one comment on Sina Weibo, which received 100,000 likes.