Pho phoney

pho-logoWho ever visited Vietnam will certainly remember Pho, the soups with vegetables, meat, fish etc. a tasty local treasure.

The name of this soup has created a small riot in London. Mo Pho, a restaurant in South East London, has been faced with a complaint and a request to change its name because of the similarity with Pho in Pho Holding (who runs pubs under the name Pho). Pho Holding bases its claim on their trademark registration.

The question is, you can claim the word pho? Yes, says Pho Holding. But having a look at this registration tells us a different story: this trademark is a figurative trademark leaving the question open whether the meaning of the word pho is generally known. If so, the trademark might not be that strong.

On Twitter, there was a discussion which eventually lead to an apology of Pho Holdings:  at the time of the application, Vietnamese food was not known, that’s why they have chosen for Pho and registered and defended this trademark. Vietnamese food became popular, their business grew but ironically, their trademark became weak. Maybe time for a different Vietnamese name!

Source: The Guardian

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