Edward Snowden

Beijing firm registers 'Snowden' for top secret electric car technology

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 10:45am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 12:31pm

A Beijing-based electric vehicle technology company, which claims to have made secret breakthroughs as dramatic as Edward’s Snowden’s leaks, has decided to cash in on the name of the former US intelligence agent by applying to register it as a trademark. 

But trademark experts say they may not succeed because the name might be deemed as being too “political” by the Chinese government.

Hong Yuan Lan Xiang (HYLX), the formerly little-known electric car technology firm, submitted an application on Thursday to China’s authorities. They want to register the “Snowden” trademark- in both Chinese and English- for their “secret technology” developed for environmentally-friendly cars,  according to the applicant and company manager, Zhu Hefeng.

“We are talking with China’s domestic carmakers, and we aim to launch cars equipped with our technology by the end of this year," Zhu told the South China Morning Post in a telephone interview on Friday.

These “top secret technologies and products” HYLX boasted range from newly-developed removable batteries, remodelling of traditional cars into electric cars, and fast charging methods, said Zhou.

Wang Hao, an trademark expert and manager of Beijing-based  Baishifuda Times Intellectual Property firm, said it would take 12 to 15 months for the application to be approved according to Chinese law.

Wang admitted there was a chance the application might be denied since “Snowden” is considered a “sensitive” name now by the Chinese government.

But since firms are allowed to register the same trademark under different “categories” listed by the country’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the Beijing technology firm - if approved, won’t be the first Chinese company to tout the “Snowden” name, Wang explained.

A Chinese clothes manufacturer registered the Chinese words for “Snowden” -斯諾登- for their products in 2010,Wang said.  Several other firms have also registered the English trademark “Snowden” in other categories in China.