Chinese company claims "Happy Birthday" as trademark

Jason Schultz asks, "Will they sue kids who give competitors' toys at birthday parties where they sing the song?"

The words "Happy Birthday" can no longer be legally used if they are pinned to any other product, as a private Chinese company has claimed to have registered them as its trademark in 25 countries, including the US, Japan and European Union members this month.

The Fufeng toy plant in East China's Anhui province said it has more than 70 products with the "Happy Birthday" brand, including industries like toys, dresses, shoes and hats. With increasingly fierce competition in the world toy market, the company realised the importance of branding.


BoingBoing reader Neil Turner says,"The song, Happy Birthday To You, is actually copyrighted, according to Snopes, and the copyright doesn't expire until 2030. This means that any time the song is used in films, TV shows etc. royalties have to be paid.

On the derivative works tip, BoingBoing reader Neil says, "Ever notice how when you go to a restaurant like Red Robin or Applebees, they'll sing birthday wishes for you using their own 'special' songs? It's so they don't have to pay royalties for singing Happy Birthday! I wonder if that'll all change in 2030."

BoingBoing reader Eric A. Farris says, "The copyright of the song Happy Birthday to You was used as a story element in the first season of the most excellent and now defunct Aaron Sorkin sitcom Sports Night, episode four, Intellectual Property. A 'script' of that episode is here: Link."