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December 3, 2012

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Eatery with 'Formosa' in its name finds trouble

A TAIWAN restaurant's controversial name - Finding Formosa - is under fire now as the word "Formosa" is forbidden for public use because of its colonial meaning.

Portuguese sailors in the 16th century named the main island of Taiwan Ilha Formosa, meaning "beautiful island." The word, a reminder of the colonial period, is seldom used now.

The restaurant has three branches in Shanghai. The word "Formosa" is easy to find on the restaurant's signboards and walls.

The restaurant staff said they don't know the meaning of the word. They said they will report the controversy to the owner.

The Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce has banned nine trademarks containing the word "Formosa," as the country's Trademark Law stipulated that no word of "bad social influence" should be used in a trademark.

In 2001, a Western restaurant being renovated in Guangzhou City was found to contain the word "Formosa." The industrial and commercial authorities barred the name and punished the owner.

In 2001, the authorities confiscated a cafe's business license in Xi'an City after residents tipped the authorities that its name contained the colonial word.

In 2004, a Taiwan-based eyeglasses store in Beijing stopped circulating an ad containing the word after media reports.


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