Trademark Infringement Case: Hảo Hảo Noodles vs Hảo Hạng Noodles

Trademark Infringement Case: Hảo Hảo Noodles vs Hảo Hạng Noodles. Believing that the new design of Hảo Hạng noodles closely resembles the packaging of its Hảo Hảo noodles, Acecook Vietnam decided to file a lawsuit in court.

Trademark Infringement Case: Hảo Hảo Noodles vs Hảo Hạng Noodles


A representative of Acecook Vietnam Joint Stock Company (VinaAcecook) stated that they have filed a lawsuit with the People’s Court of Binh Duong Province against Asia Foods Corporation for industrial property rights infringement of the “Hảo Hảo Spicy and Sour Instant Noodles” trademark (Acecook’s product on the market since 2000).

Detailed description of the dispute between Hảo Hảo noodles and Hảo Hạng noodles

According to the lawsuit filed on January 26, Acecook discovered that Asia Foods’ Hảo Hạng product had packaging designs that could cause confusion with Hảo Hảo noodles. “The font style, noodle bowl image, noodle strands, and primary colors of the packaging collectively create a resemblance that could confuse it with the protected Hảo Hảo trademark recognized by the Intellectual Property Office,” the Acecook representative said.

In early February, Acecook Vietnam sent a warning letter to Asia Foods regarding the production and business of trademark-infringing goods. Subsequently, the two parties met several times but could not reach an agreement. Acecook then requested the Market Management Department of Binh Duong Province to inspect and handle Asia Foods’ violations.

According to the working record prepared by the Binh Duong Market Management Department on March 11, a representative of Asia Foods asserted that their Hảo Hạng noodles did not copy the design of Hảo Hảo noodles. Additionally, Asia Foods stated they had temporarily halted the production of this product since February 4, prompting the Market Management Department to decide against conducting an inspection as there was no ongoing violation. The department suggested that if the two parties could not reach an agreement, they should take the matter to court.

On April 22, Acecook discovered that Hảo Hạng noodles were still being sold in the market, causing confusion, and decided to file a lawsuit. They requested the People’s Court of Binh Duong Province to identify the violation and demanded public correction and compensation for damages totaling 8,175 million VND.

Nguyen Manh Ha, General Director of Asia Foods, stated that their Hảo Hạng noodles had been on the market since 2006, and the design and trademark were registered with the Intellectual Property Office under number 119302. At the end of December, to renew the product, the company decided to update the design but still based on the registered overall layout, without copying Acecook’s design. Nonetheless, at the beginning of 2015, upon receiving feedback from Acecook and in accordance with an agreement between the two parties, Asia Foods decided to temporarily suspend the sale of the product starting in early February.

“We showed goodwill by suspending the sale to review the matter, but Acecook still insisted on taking the matter to court, so we will face it and present full evidence proving our non-infringement,” Ha said. He also emphasized that Acecook’s claim that the noodle bowl, noodle strands, shrimp, and primary colors of Hảo Hạng causing confusion with Hảo Hảo is unconvincing because images of spicy and sour noodles cannot lack shrimp, noodle strands, herbs, or lime. “Currently, there are hundreds of spicy and sour noodle products on the market with similar bowl designs and do not cause confusion between products. Acecook continually claims Asia Foods’ infringement without presenting a conclusion from the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Instead, they only rely on guidance from the Intellectual Property Office and conclude that we are violating, which is unfair competition aimed at defaming and degrading the Hảo Hạng brand,” Ha added.

Opinions of Intellectual Property Office

The leader of the Intellectual Property Office said that the unit received a letter requesting handling from Acecook Vietnam. On February 13, the Office provided a professional opinion, stating that both trademarks are registered with the Office in Group 30. “However, the actual sample of Asia Foods’ product differs from the protected sample, with the presentation of the font and images of the noodle bowl, noodle strands, and colors collectively creating a resemblance causing confusion with the Hảo Hảo trademark. The production and sale of such noodle products will confuse consumers and constitute a violation of trademark rights under Article 129.1 of the Intellectual Property Law,” according to document 1320 from the Office. The leader further explained that the information provided is only a professional guidance opinion to help management agencies understand the case better, while the handling of violations will be determined by the local management agencies. “The Office only has the responsibility to provide professional guidance, while the dispute resolution and litigation will be decided by the two parties and the authorities,” the leader added.

Vina Acecook and Asia Foods were both established in 1995 and are currently leading companies in the Vietnamese instant noodle market. According to a 2013 report by Euromonitor, the Vietnamese instant noodle market is dominated by three main companies: Vina Acecook, Masan Food, and Asia Foods, with Vina Acecook leading at 51.5% market share, and Asia Foods in third place with 12.1% market share. Acecook Vietnam Joint Stock Company was established from a joint venture between Vifon Instant Noodle Manufacturing Company – Vietnam and Marubeni Acecook Group – Japan on December 15, 1993. In 2004, this joint venture separated to operate independently, forming Acecook Vietnam and Vifon. In 2008, Acecook Vietnam converted into a joint-stock company. Asia Foods entered the market early and, in recent years, has been best known for its Red Bear brand noodles. Asia Foods Company Limited was founded in 1995 with a factory located in Thuan An District, Binh Duong Province.

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