Vietnamese Bun bo Hue dish to be trademarked and licensed to sellers

According to Tuoi tre News, the traditional vietnamese beef noodle soup or ‘Bun bo Hue’ is soon to be trademarked worldwide by the Thua Thien-Hue province from which it originates.

Nineteen new regulations have been established by the Thua Thien-Hue administration, including one to trademark the Bun bo Hue brand and manage it globally.

The Thua Thein-Hue administration has claimed sole ownership of the brand and therefore plans to license it to sellers who wish to use the name outside of their region.

Those who want to apply for the licence will be asked to travel to the Thua Thien-Hue province in order to do so. They will then be monitored to ensure that they can meet the standard of food quality that the administration requires. Only if they meet these high standards will they be granted a licence for the Bun bo Hue name. If they are unsuccessful they can only use the names ‘Bun bo’ or ‘Bo Hue’ as they are not trademarked.

The general secretary of the Thua Thien-Hue Tourism Association has stated that the requirement of presenting oneself in the Thua Thien-Hue Province to apply for a licence would not be possible for sellers from all around the world however, in time they will be expected to apply for a licence by a method that has yet to be decided.

The action that the Thua Thien-Hue Province is attempting to take to protect their traditional dish is along the lines of Geographical Indication protection (sui generis intellectual property rights), whereby only goods produced in that geographical area are legally allowed to use the geographical location in their name. Some famous examples are Parma Ham, Cheddar cheese, Scotch Whisky and Champagne.

However, the Thua Thien-Hue Province is trying to protect a traditional name which does not include the name of the geographical location and they are not the first to attempt this.

Halloumi is a cheese made from a combination of goat’s and sheep’s milk that originates from the greek island of Cyprus. However, in 2013 when the Republic of Cyprus applied for European trademarks for both HALLOUMI and XAΛΛOYMI,specifically for cheese, milk and milk products, their application was rejected on the grounds that their product was not distinct enough since their trademark was describing a speciality cheese of the region. Despite the initial setback, the EU  then stepped forward to protect the GI of the cheese and has published an application for the name. However, at this moment in time the Greek cheese is at risk of infringement with no legal rights to act upon it meaning that anyone can produce a cheese and sell it as “Halloumi”.

The best way to protect your company’s reputation, brand value and profits in today’s global marketplace is by registering a trademark and gaining trademark enforcement rights. However, just having the trademark is not enough. You would also need to police your market for potential infringements and then be prepared to act on them when they do arise.

For advice and more information on searching, acquiring, registering and enforcing Trademarks please visit our website,