|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Buzz on handy gPod a poison apple for US giant 2006,11,07
Shukan Gendai(11/18) By Ryann Connell
Far from lovin' it, as one huge American multinational food giant urges its Japanese customers to do, Japan's sex services are struggling as U.S. business behemoths crack down on them for commandeering brand names to use for saucy products and services, according to Shukan Gendai.
Ichiro Kameda, the president of a tiny, two-man company in Osaka, is currently embroiled in a bitter battle with computer maker Apple.
"Putting it simply, the fight is all over what I call our beat generator.
There's a small device with three different, sound-activated motors.
It's a revolutionary invention. You can plug it in to iPods or mobile phones.
It can also be programmed to operate only for certain voices," Kameda says, referring to his company's product.
Kameda's commercial pride and joy is actually a women's sex aid worn inside her most intimate orifices and buzzing her with good vibrations when set off by sound.
Though the Japanese Patent Agency gave him the right to use the devise in August last year, and the trademark he chose for the product was approved two months later, he still hasn't been able to sell.
He called the product the gPod, presumably after the G-Spot and jii, the Japanese word for masturbation.
Kameda has since found out his choice of product name was like, well, taking a bite out of a rotten apple.
When Kameda applied across the globe to have the gPod registered as a trademark, the computer giant raised objections, saying it was too close a resemblance to its hit iPod (it probably doesn't help that the gPod even looks like an iPod.)
The fight really intensified earlier this year.
"This Japanese lawyer rolled up on my doorstep one day, saying he represented Apple and carrying a letter asking me to change the product name," Kameda tells Shukan Gendai.
Apple legal representatives have repeatedly contacted Kameda, requesting he stop using the gPod trademark, including in one letter with extracts that read:
"The product planned for use with the trademark 'gPod' is a sex aid and masturbation aid…
If this product comes onto the market, you will be forced to take all sorts of legal measures to deal with it…
We would like to avoid a fight over this and would be prepared to cover any costs you have incurred."
Kameda laughs at the reaction.
"What they were telling me was that they'd pay if I agreed to stop using the trademark.
Of course I turned them down.
If they sue me, I'll fight," he says.
Apple Computer Inc., meanwhile, is, unlike gPod users, keeping tight-lipped about the case.
"It's company policy not to comment on legal cases," an Apple spokesman tells Shukan Gendai.
Fed up with the fight, Kameda plans to put the gPod on sale in Japan alone at the end of this month.
It's not just apples that are falling over trademarks.
There was a whopper of a battle between a sex service in Chiba and hamburger behemoth McDonald's that left the call girl business far from lovin' it.
The sex service called itself Nukudonarudo, a play on words taken from nukeru, slang Japanese for ejaculation, and Makudonarudo, the local pronunciation of McDonald's.
"We thought it'd be better to have a name with impact.
It came about by coincidence because there was a McDonald's restaurant in front of us at the time we were meeting to discuss the service name," the operator of Nukudonarudo tells Shukan Gendai.
"In this business, it's better to create a bit of a stir, so we didn't mind if they sued us."
Nukudonarudo also copied McDonald's menus to label its sex services.
While the restaurant has a standard 0 yen charge for a smile, Nukudonarudo informed its customers they were entitled to a "sexy groan for 0 yen."
McDonald's was none too pleased to see itself associated with a call girl service.
"We confirmed in July that the name belonged to a sex service.
We don't want our customers to consider the possibility that our company is associated with that business and their name hurts the brand we have worked very hard to establish," a member of McDonald's communications division tells Shukan Gendai.
"We informed the company that its name breached the fair trade practices law and demanded it be changed."
Threatened with a massive lawsuit from a huge multinational, Nukudonarudo's owner lost his cojones.
"My lawyer told me that McDonald's in the United States had led the complaints against us and that compensation in a lawsuit could run into the hundreds of millions of yen.
Considering we also called one of our services a 'Super Value Set,' I figured a court case probably wasn't the best idea," the owner tells Shukan Gendai.
"We had no choice, so have recently changed the name.
Now, we're gonna call ourselves 'Nukutteria' (after "nukeru" and Korean fast food chain Lotteria)."