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Trademark Squatter Goes After "PPAP" In Japan

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Last fall, “PPAP” singer Pikotaro claimed he hadn’t made any money off his viral sensation. A trademark squatter in Japan certainly isn’t helping things.

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According to Japanese legal site Bengoshi.com, 53-year-old Ikuhiro Ueda has submitted multiple trademark applications for “PPAP” as well as “Pen Pineapple Apple Pen” in both English and Japanese.

Pikotaro’s record label, Bengoshi.com adds, applied once to trademark “PPAP” on October 14. However, Ueda had already submitted an application on October 5. (He submitted two more applications for it the following month.) The record label has not filed for the phrase “Pen Pineapple Apple Pen” in English or Japanese, reports Bengoshi.com. D’oh.

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Currently, trademarks for the phrases “PPAP” and “Pen Pineapple Apple Pen” in both English and Japanese have yet to be issued by the Japan Patent Office.

This morning on Japanese TV show Tokudane, Ueda was interviewed about this trademark issue, and he said that even if he’s ignored, he can claim damages if the phrase is used because he submitted his application earlier than Pikotaro’s record label.

Tokudane added that Ueda is infamous in the world of Japanese trademarks and has been known to submit up to fifty applications in one day.

If Ueda successfully does register these trademarks, a Japanese legal expert told the show that there is a low likelihood that Pikataro’s CD sales will cease or that he will be unable to sing the song in concert.

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However, the trademarks could certainly impact the use of the phrases on merchandise or things like, I guess, that “PPAP” cafe. Trademark squatting certainly is shitty™!


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

Pikotaro was booked to “perform” PPAP at Kouhaku. Pikotaro is fucking lying when he says he “hasn’t made any money” from it.