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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     4 November  2011

Vietnam seeks to gain back trademark
Vietnam will spend roughly US$600 million in a lawsuit that aims to regain the Buon Ma Thuot coffee trademark from foreign businesses, said deputy director of the Dak Lak Department of Science and Technology Trinh Minh Duc.

The move was made after it was found that the trademark of Buon Ma Thuot coffee from the Central Highland province of Dak Lak has been registered in China for monopoly protection for 10 years while the Dak Lak coffee trademark has also been registered by a French company in more than 10 different countries since 1997.

Of the total US$600 million, the Dak Lak People's Committee will contribute half of the funds while the rest will come from members of the Viet Nam Coffee Association and the Intellectual Property Department under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Minh said that the lawsuit could last two to three years, adding that the Vietnam Coffee Association has so far received proposals from four domestic law firms to help it take part in the legal action.

Lawyers said that Vietnam has a basic right and legal evidence to sue the Chinese company as according to Chinese patent laws, if a foreign geographic name was widely known by the Chinese public, businesses were not allowed to register and use it as their own brand name.

Spanning more than 100,000 ha in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, Buon Ma Thuot is considered Viet Nam's largest coffee growing area with an annual production of 300,000 tons and exports to 60 countries.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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