As TCUGB members may remember, an application was made to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to register as a trademark “Tai Chi 24”; this was done by one of our own members. The name “Tai Chi 24” is for a commonly practiced short Yang style form created in the 1950s and taught throughout the world. The application caused obvious concern among our members, many of whom contacted the IPO to raise this.
The application has now been approved by the IPO, unfortunately, and the trademark is now registered. However, the trademark that has been registered is for a figurative-trademark only, not a word-trademark, meaning the words are part of an image or logo. The registered trademark can be viewed on the IPO web-site using this link:
Thus, members who use the phrase “Tai Chi 24” in advertising their classes may continue to do so without fear of infringement action being taken against them.
Despite the fact that many instances can currently be found of the registered trademark symbol ® being incorrectly used against the ‘words only’ on websites and social media pages, this common term “Tai Chi 24” can still be used freely by all.
The TCUGB is not aware of any style of Taijiquan or Qigong that has been trademark registered ‘words only’ without further descriptive words adding to make the trademark more distinctive. The IPO should not permit the registration of generic words or terms, however the staff at the IPO do not necessarily have the specialist knowledge of Chinese language and culture to enable them to identify things we would say are generic. If it comes to the attention of any TCUGB member, of a generic term that registration is being applied for, please do let us know via the link at https://www.taichiunion.com/trademarking/
The website page also includes details of who to contact at the IPO and trading standards, along with a position statement from the TCUGB.
Qigong trademark update
The International Health Qigong Federation (IHQF) has recently been posting on social media regarding Health Qigong and their links to the Chinese government sponsored ‘Belt and Road initiative’. The IHQF’s main agent in the UK is BHQA (British Health Qigong Association) and it was their director, Tary Yip, who trademarked the words “Health Qigong”, in the UK, to prevent those not associated with IHQF/BHQA from using what many have always seen as generic descriptive words.
The IHQF and its representatives have been adding the words “Health Qigong” to a number of widely practiced qigong sets (nine to date) including Yi Jin Jing (Muscle and Tendon Strengthening), Wu Qin Xi (Five Animals Frolics), and Ba Duan Jin (eight strands of the brocade), implying exclusivity, but these qigong sets, and many others, are in the public domain, and are practiced and taught by many people worldwide as health and fitness improving qigong. We encourage all members, where applicable, to use the term ‘Qigong for Health’.
Everyone has the right to continue to practice and share these numerous sets, and to continue to use the sets names without fear of prosecution or association with IHQF and its representatives. As the IHQF appears to have declared its connection with the Chinese Government and CCP (Chinese Communist Party) we felt we should inform our members. The Tai Chi & Qigong Union for Great Britain has no political affiliations.
In future issues of our journal, we will be sharing a history of nei-gong, daoyin, zhan zhuang, and xing qi, and qigong, along with diverse styles of taijiquan and related internal martial arts.