A bag of ST25 rice sold at a store in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
An Australian firm has sought a patent for Vietnamese rice varieties ST25 and ST24.
According to intellectual property authority IP Australia, T&L Global Foods Supply PTY LTD on April 22 sought to register ‘Rice; Best Rice of the World’ trademarks for the two varieties.
It is the sixth company internationally – the other five are in the U.S. – to seek to appropriate ST25.
Both were developed in Vietnam by farmer-scientist Ho Quang Cua, with ST25 going on to win the first prize in the 2019 World’s Best Rice Contest held in the Philippines and ST24 the second prize in the 2017 contest in Macau.
Ngan Tran, director of Maygust Trademark Attorneys in the Australian capital Canberra, said it takes three to four months to carry out checks for a patent registration.
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, she explained.
If there is no objection, the patent would be granted, she said.
Of the five applications for ST25 submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), only the one by I&T Enterprise Inc. has crossed the first stage.
The Vietnam Trade Office in the U.S. is helping a Vietnamese company fight I&T.
The USPTO is set to publish the application by I&T on May 4, and Cua and his son’s company needs to file an objection by June 4.
Several ministries are assisting Cua’s company, which has also hired a law firm.