Last update 4/25/2012 3:20:00 PM (GMT+7)

Part 2: Enterprises can do nothing to protect their brands

VietNamNet Bridge – Many Vietnamese brands which have the development history of tens or hundreds of years have been acquired by foreigners in the last few years.
Foreign “big sharks” eyeing Vietnamese famous brands (part 1)

The subjectivism and the unprofessional way of resistance has led to a lot of well- known brands to disappear from the market.

Bibica, the leading sweets brand in Vietnam, is now in the danger of falling into the hands of the South Korean retailer Lotte.

The acquisition process has not come to an end yet, and the name “Bibica” is still existing. However, it’s clear that the “foreign sharks” are on the upper hand.

After five years of penetrating into the Vietnamese market through the partner Bibica, Lotte has obtained nearly 40 percent of the stakes of the second biggest sweets manufacturer in Vietnam. Currently, Bibica not only makes familiar products, but also develops a product beneficial for Lotte – Lottepie.

While the foreign partner acquired Bibica through the contract on purchasing Bibica stakes and the collection of stakes carried out when the stock market fell, the case of Sabeco is different.

Sabeco does not sell stakes to any foreign partners, but it is also in the danger of being swallowed in a strange way by the partner who has the exclusive marketing and distribution right.

The story began from a contract that Satraco, a subsidiary of Sabeco, which has the exclusive right to distribute all the products made by the parent group Sabeco, signed in late 2009 with a Singaporean partner – Sabeco Pacific.

Under the contract, the Singapore-based company has the right to exclusively distribute four main products of Sabeco in 20 countries and territories.

Since Sabeco Pacific exclusively distributes the well-known products of Sabeco, the countries which consume Sabeco’s products through Sabeco Asia Pacific, all think that the manufacturer with the head office in Singapore is the owner of Sabeco brand.

Analysts have warned that once Sabeco Asia Pacific registers for the trademark protection all over the world, Vietnamese Sabeco, the real owner of Sabeco brand, would be considered illegal if it uses Sabeco brand for its products.

The stamp used by Sabeco Pacific in transactions looks similar to the image of Sabeco brand. The only difference between them is that the word “Sabeco” in the image of Sabeco brand is put above, while the image of a dragon below.

The case of Sabeco was once considered a “sensational news,” and it was reported to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. However, the case later had fallen into oblivion until one month ago, when finance experts heard that the stake proportion held by the ministry in Sabeco has dropped from 89.59 percent to 52 percent.

A question has been raised that who has spent 17 trillion dong to acquire 40 percent of stakes of Sabeco. And people have every reason to worry that Sabeco may be swallowed by foreign partners.

In 2002, Vietnamese Tobacco, a cigarette manufacturer, once faced the risk of losing Vinataba brand, when the brand was stolen by an Indonesian company - Sumatra - in Laos and Cambodia. However, Vinataba had a happy ending. As Vinataba is a registered trademark and it could prove the ownership of the brand, Sumatra had to abrogate its products bearing Vinataba brand.

Manh Ha