Chinese out to cash in on Downton

A series of applications have been made to secure the rights to the Downton Abbey name in China.
A series of applications have been made to secure the rights to the Downton Abbey name in China.

It is the television drama so popular that its makers are launching a range of merchandise in Britain that includes soap, lip gloss and even wine.

However, it is feared businesses in China will soon be cashing in on the success of Downton Abbey - a move that would be unlikely to please the show's maker.

A series of applications to secure the rights to the show's name in China have been lodged at the country's national trademark office.

The move could result in the production of unofficial merchandise across the country, including wine, spirits and jewellery.

It could even lead to shops and hotels in China being named after the ITV drama, as one firm was granted the rights to use the word "Downton" in the retail and accommodation sectors.

Authorities in China have granted permission to one individual, listed as Li Xiangjun, in Shandong province, to use the words Downton Abbey on wine and spirits.

Another firm, in Shenzhen, in Guangdong Province, has successfully applied to register Downton in the fields of retail, restaurants and accommodation and further applications are being considered.

Carnival Films, the company that makes the television show, has not registered its trademark in China, running the risk that local firms can use the show's title.

Unlike in Britain, China's trademarks scheme allows the first person who registers the brand to have the rights to it - allowing trademark "squatters" to potentially put at risk plans to expand into the Far East.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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