6 June 2024

An uproar broke out on social media yesterday (Monday) after a popular Bangkok restaurant posted the image of one of its dishes called “Pang Cha” on Facebook, claiming that the name of the dessert had been registered with the Department of Intellectual Property under the Trademark Protection Act.

The unnamed restaurant also claimed that, since the “Pang Cha” trademark has been legally registered, no one has the right to use this name for its products or premises or emulate or modify its product.

The controversial post immediately drew widespread reaction from Thai netizens, many of them wondering whether they can still use the word “pang” (meaning bread) or “cha” (meaning tea) or even whether they can still sell bread or serve iced tea.

One of the Facebook posts, by lawyer Peerapat Foithong, said that it is a good thing that the restaurant owner is interested in intellectual property rights, but he doubts that the post about the trademark is accurate.

According to Thai intellectual property rights law, there are three types of intellectual property, namely copyright, patents and trademarks, he said, adding that “cha” is a common word and cannot be registered.

Peerapat said he understood that the restaurant in question might have actually registered “Pang Cha” as a trademark, but they cannot prohibit other people from using the same name for their products, including shaved ice tea.

Trademarks in Thailand are categorised according to the International Classification for Goods and Services. There are 34 classes of goods and 8 classes in which services are included. Three common types of trademark are words, logos and slogans.