Vietnamese Rice Varieties Are Sought to be Patented by an Australian Firm
May 7, 2021

Vietnamese Rice Varieties Are Sought to be Patented by an Australian Firm

Vietnamese rice varieties ST25 and ST24 which both were developed in Vietnam by farmer-scientist are sought to be patented or trademarked by US and Australian firms!

An Australian firm, T&L Global Foods Supply PTY LTD, has sought a patent for Vietnamese rice varieties ST25 and ST24. Both varieties were developed in Vietnam by farmer-scientist Ho Quang Cua.  

ST25 rice is the result of 25 years of work by farmer-scientist Ho Quang Cua and his colleagues who cross-bred the premium fragrant rice of the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, described as having a sweet taste and a hint of pineapple flavor.

In 2019, ST25 rice was named the winner of the World's Best Rice Contest in the Philippines, marking the first time a Vietnamese rice variety had won the title in the contest’s 11-year history.

How does this known product registered as a patent is not clear for us since it is not meet the patentability requirement? the products are too important for Australian and US firms since they made efforts to own the product by any means! According to the shreds of evidence, the “ST25" and "World’s Best Rice" as trademarks related to this product have been registered by both the US and Australian firms in USPTO and IP Australia accordingly!

 

Rice varieties named ST24 and ST25 are successfully developed by Mr. Ho Quang Cua and a team of Vietnamese scientists and have been granted a patent in Vietnam. Photo: Labor Newspaper. 

 

The Vietnam Trade Office discussed with Ho Quang Cua to coordinate actions and actively engaged in discussions with T&L Global Foods Supply PTY LTD.

The Trade Office has sent an official dispatch with attached documents and pictures to IP Australia to clarify that the rice varieties named ST24 and ST25 were successfully researched and produced by Ho Quang Cua and a team of Vietnamese scientists and has been granted a patent in Vietnam. The Office is discussing with Australian lawyers to prepare the next steps in accordance with IP Australia regulations.

 

If an application meets all the requirements, the IP agency would issue a notice accepting the trademark and disclose the information enabling anyone with an objection to file within two months. If there is no objection, the patent would be granted, she said

According to the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam exported rice worth $4.7 million to Australia in Q1, a year-on-year increase of 66 percent,

According to the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country exported 6.15 million tons of rice worth US$ 3.07 billion in 2020, down 3.5 percent in volume but up 9.3 percent in value year-on-year,

 

There are already five applications for "ST25" as a trademark submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) The U.S firms had begun registering the trademarks "ST25" and "World’s Best Rice" since last June, seeking to profit from the. Among those firms, one made by I&T Enterprise Inc. has crossed the first stage.

According to shreds of evidence, the USPTO's publication of me&T Enterprise's trademark on 2021, May 4 was in accordance with procedures for trademark registration!

Although anyone has the right to file a request to nullify a registered trademark with the USPTO or a court, however, the procedures to oppose or nullify a trademark registration in the U.S. were different from the rest of the world and very complicated.

Moreover, this seems to be a civil lawsuit, but litigation costs in the U.S. are so high that even large, financially wealthy companies rarely pursue the cases to the final proceedings reached through resolutions by the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

According to statistics, 95 percent of trademark opposition cases end in the early or middle stages of legal proceedings to significantly reduce the actual litigation costs.
This happens because the parties often find solutions to end the cases early through trademark transfer agreements, coexistence agreements, the withdrawal or cancellation of trademark applications.

Another option for the Vietnamese ST25 rice would be exporting the product under a different brand, or change the trademark to avoid violating U.S. Trademark Law, but these are both undesirable options.

Vietnamese firms can consider using a different trademark that still includes the term "ST25" since it is a generic variety of rice and not a brand

 We don’t know how the trademark  "world's best rice," which seems unlikely to be accepted by the USPTO, has passed the first stage! What is your idea?

 

 

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