Tuborg, a famous, Danish pilsner beer, has been on the market since 1880. Tuborg is now owned by Carlsberg, and it is sold over 70 countries worldwide. In Carlsberg’s recent effort to bring Tuborg to Myanmar, however, the company has run into threats of legal action because its transliteration of Tuborg, pronounced tu po, shares the same name as a song composed by a deceased Myanmar musician. Many locals consider the song as synonymous with Thingyan, a water festival celebrated each year in Myanmar. Carlsberg has announced that it would stop using the transliteration, despite the Myanmar Times reporting that the company was “confident” it would prevail in court if necessary.
World Trademark Review interviewed co-managing partner and managing director of intellectual property, Darani Vachanavuttivong, and consultant Yuwadee Thean-ngarm, of Tilleke & Gibbins to comment on this case. They said that Carlsberg would probably not have to worry about a claim stemming from the song’s authorship, “as the composer has been deceased for 61 years” and therefore “copyright protection has expired under Myanmar’s Copyright Act 1911.” Darani and Yuwadee concluded that they were “unable to see any legal standing for a claim on this basis, based purely on publicly-available information.”
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