Vietnam’s ST25 rice - PHOTO: VNA
HCMC - Australian company T&L Global Foods Supply PTY LTD on April 22 registered the “Rice, Best Rice of the World” trademark as its own for Vietnam’s rice varieties ST25 and ST24, which has been objected to by the Vietnam trade body Down Under.
The intellectual property authority IP Australia is checking and evaluating the Australian firm’s file. Ngan Tran, director of Maygust Trademark Attorneys in Canberra, said it takes three to four months to carry out checks for trademark registration.
The Vietnam Trade Office in Australia has sent documents and photos to IP Australia to clarify that the rice varieties of ST24 and ST25 are crossbred in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang by farmer Ho Quang Cua and a group of Vietnamese scientists.
ST25 won the first prize at the 2019 World’s Best Rice Contest held in the Philippines and ST24 won the second prize at the 2017 contest in Macau. These rice varieties have been granted trademark protection certificates in Vietnam.
“We ask IP Australia to consider the issue to avoid possible disputes that could affect the exports of ST24 and ST25 rice from Vietnam to Australia,” said Nguyen Phu Hoa, director of the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia.
“Related procedures to prove that these rice varieties belong to Vietnam should be accelerated,” he added.
The Vietnam Trade Office is collaborating with Ho Quang Cua to ensure trademark protection for ST24 and ST25 rice in Australia.
The office has also worked with leaders of T&L Global Foods Supply PTY LTD. The Australian company said it will check the matter with the brand department.
Besides Australia, four foreign companies have registered trademark protection for ST25 rice in the United States.
According to a leader of the Vietnam Food Association, a trademark is protected by a territory, and enterprises from any country are not banned from registering trademark protection for the products of other countries if they have not been registered for trademark protection in those specific countries. Although the ST24 and ST25 rice varieties have been granted trademark protection certificates in Vietnam, it does not mean they are protected in other countries such as the United States and Australia.
It is easier for Vietnamese companies to register trademark protection for their products in foreign markets than to reclaim their brands that have been registered for trademark protection by foreign companies. Therefore, Vietnamese companies should actively register trademark protection for their products in foreign countries.
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