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Chinese firm applies for 'Edward Snowden' trademark

'Top secret' e-car tech puts whistleblower on wheels

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A Chinese electric vehicle (EV) company has made a bold attempt to cash in on the publicity surrounding PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden by filing an application to register his name as a trademark.

Beijing-based Hong Yuan Lan Xiang (HYLX) wants to register the name in both Chinese and English for its “top secret technologies and products”, company manager Zhu Hefeng told the South China Morning Post.

“We are talking with China’s domestic carmakers, and we aim to launch cars equipped with our technology by the end of this year," he told the Hong Kong newspaper.

It’s unclear exactly how HYLX would use the Snowden trademark if its application is successful.

The products and services it’s apparently set to launch – including removable batteries, speedy EV chargers and kit to turn traditional motors into electric cars – don’t immediately have much in common with the former NSA contractor turned state secret snitch.

However, the stunt is already doing a grand job of publicising HYLX’s wares to the world, so it has probably already served its purpose.

Trademark expert Wang Hao of the Baishifuda Times Intellectual Property firm told SCMP that any application could take 12-15 months to process.

Although several firms have in the past apparently registered the Snowden name in English and Chinese under different trademark categories, the authorities may think twice about awarding it this time given the delicate political situation, he said. ®

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