ST25 rice developer registers new brand in US

The Vietnamese developer of the world’s best rice has registered to trademark a new brand in the U.S. while still pursuing to reclaim the original ST25 brand.

The logo of Gao Ong Cua is displayed on the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Photo by VnExpress/Dat Nguyen.

A company in southern Vietnam has registered to trademark "Gao Ong Cua" (Mr. Cua’s Rice) in the U.S., referring to the rice developed by farmer-scientist Ho Quang Cua.

The company is Ho Quang Tri Ltd, which was established under the name of Cua’s son in Soc Trang Province where the ST25 rice is grown.

The logo of the trademark is the smiling face of Cua with rice paddies underneath and the brand name on the left, according to the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

A law firm representing Cua and his son’s company in trademarking matters told VnExpress that the new registration is part of the company’s strategy and no further details can be revealed for now.

At the same time Ho Quang Tri Ltd is still opposing the trademarking of ST25 rice in the U.S. by a California company, I&T Enterprise, Inc, said Ken D. Duong, the CEO of the law firm TDL.

"There is still a chance to reclaim the ST25 brand," said Duong.

Cua earlier this month had proposed to give the copyright of the ST25 rice to the Vietnamese government. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is seeking permission from the government for such request because it is unprecedented.

ST25 rice is the result of 25 years of work by Cua and his colleagues who cross-bred the premium fragrant rice of the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang. The rice is described as having a sweet taste and a hint of pineapple flavor.

In 2019, ST25 rice was named the winner of the World's Best Rice Contest in the Philippines, marking the first time a Vietnamese rice variety had won the title in the contest’s 11-year history.

At least six companies have registered to trademark the ST25 overseas, including five in the U.S. and one in Australia.

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