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Monday, September 19, 2011

Vietnam accuses Chinese company of GI theft

The Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (Vicofa) has stated its intention to sue a Chinese company for IP infringement in relation to BUON MA THUOTcoffee from Vietnam’s Da Lak Province, its chairman said last week. BUON MA THUOTis a geographical indication belonging to Vietnam he said, and is registered at the Vietnam IP department.  However Guangzhou Buon Ma Thuot Co. Ltd. has registered the two brand names “BUON MA THUOT” and “BUON MA THUOT COFFEE 1896” as a trademark in China.  Vicofa says it is confident it would win this case.

Geographical indications enforcement is picking up pace in South East Asia. Thailand is a leader with many GIs registered and an ongoing program with European businesses to develop and register Thai GIs including to commercialise them. The Thai Department of Intellectual Property has an impressive brochure on the number of local GIs that have been developed so far. Indonesia registered its first foreign GI quite recently (Champagne).  IP Komodo expects some court decisions in this area soon.

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