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April 28, 2011

Dealing with Shadow Companies in Thailand and Vietnam

Informed Counsel

In Hong Kong, the term “shadow company” refers to the unscrupulous use of another party’s well-known trademark in the registered name of a business, often for the purpose of conducting trade in illegitimate goods and services. In China, these companies are known as “unauthorized business enterprise name registrations.” While China and Hong Kong take action against these shadow companies, Southeast Asia is seeing a marked increase in the use of well-known trade names and trademarks in business name registrations. To deal with these registrations, Vietnam introduced a decree that came into effect on June 1, 2010. In Thailand, however, there seems little the company registration departments can proactively do to counter such unauthorized registrations until the relevant enabling legislation changes to empower officials to reject applications for business names using the trademarks or trade names of others.

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Jennifer Sloan