Hot plates to go under the hammer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 January, 2007, 12:00am

People with a penchant for British actor Sean Bean, soy milk or a Cantopop duo will soon be bidding for their favourite number plates.

Among plates up for grabs at the government's auction on January 20 will be SEANBEAN, V1TASOY and H1 TW1NS, along with 218 others submitted by members of the public. Others include BATMAN, SE1KO, HYATT and TESCO.

A Transport Department spokesman insisted none of the plates referred to individual companies or brands and created no trademark or copyright problems.

'We have already taken advice from government lawyers. Single words or combination of single letters cannot have a copyright, so we are not contravening any copyright issues,' he said.

The spokesman said using the name TESCO was acceptable because the British supermarket chain did not have stores in Hong Kong. The government's lawyers had also given the go-ahead to use V1TASOY, replacing the letter 'I' with the numeral '1'.

This is the fourth auction of such number plates. Those sold last year include HSBC (for HK$500,000), FERRAR1 (HK$700,000) and PCCW (HK$60,000).