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- 22 month(s) ago
The British company, Interbrand Group, has filed suit against three Vietnamese companies for infringement of intellectual property rights.
Established in 1974, London-based Interbrand Group is well-known worldwide for their consultancy and branding services. They are best known for their annual lists, compiled in cooperation with Business Week, of the "100 Best Global Brands".
Interbrand has been active in Vietnam since 2001, when it provided branding services for Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (a partner of Vietnam Brewery Ltd. Co.). On May 6, 2010, Interbrand Group was granted a Trademark Certificate for Vietnam by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam.
Since 2010, Interbrand Group claimed that three Vietnamese companies have taken advantage of the trademark "Interbrand" for their business activities.
Ho Chi Minh City-based Interbrand JSC uses “Interbrand” for its business and advertisement activities in internet in their domain names. This has led to confusion with the actual company's websites: www.interbrand.com; www.interbrandvn.com.
Inter Brand Meida Co., Ltd. also in Ho Chi Minh City uses domain names suspiciously similar: www.interbrandvietnam.com www.interbrandmedia.com; www.interbrandmedia.com.vn and www.interbrandmedia.vn.
Another firm in Hanoi, International Brand JSC uses the domain www.interbrand.com.vn.
Interband Group has lodged complaints against the two firms in Ho Chi Minh City, and is preparing legal procedures against the third in Hanoi.
No harm, no foul?
Truong Vo Tuan, a representative from Inter Brand Media Co., Ltd, said that they are not culpable because the Interbrand Group is not yet a well-known brand in Vietnam, as they have only serviced one domestic company.
He added that his company Inter Brand Media Co., Ltd has been registered since March 2009, while the British firm registered in May of last year.
In Vietnamese courts, establishing whether the brand is well-known or not is an important issue.
After receiving the complaint, the National Office of Intellectual Property made the statement that the British group, "Interbrand" has been a recognisable brand in Vietnam since 2006.
The Ho Chi Minh City People's Court is continuing to compile evidence to settle the case as soon as possible.
Le Xuan Loc, an attorney from Pham & Associates, said that Interbrand Group's case may set a precedent, and be a warning for other Vietnamese firms who intentionally violate intellectual property rights.
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