Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tohams the Tank Engine

In yet another classic case of Taiwanese misspelling--not to mention trademark piracy--we meet Tohams, the lovable tank engine, and, well, frankly a group of letters and one nonsense character that might be intended to imitate the words "& friends," but actually comes nowhere near its mark.

Intellectual property protections are often cited as a major stumbling block between countries like the US and Taiwan (though not so much as between the US and less developed Asian nations). Despite assurances by governments to protect intellectual property, piracy is rampant. In Taiwan, unauthorized use of cartoon characters on clothing is a prime example (as well as in advertising, on store fronts, and on all kinds of household goods, office supplies, stationery, etc.). Almost every child in my kindergarten wears clothing with suspect trademarked images on it.

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