Thai company sues Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee over trademark infringement

Photo courtesy of World Coffee Portal

Thailand’s 50R Group unleashed a US$290 million (10 billion baht) legal storm against Chinese coffee giant Luckin Coffee. The lawsuit is over alleged economic losses during a trademark dispute that has shaken the caffeine industry.

Thailand’s 50R Group claims it legally staked its claim to the Luckin trademark with the Thai Ministry of Commerce in 2020, unveiling stores in December 2020 with a logo strikingly similar to the Chinese coffee colossus. However, a twist in the tale emerged when Luckin Coffee initially triumphed in a lawsuit filed with Thailand’s Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court in 2022, accusing 50R Group of malicious trademark registration. This victory, however, was overturned by a court of appeals in December 2023.

The 50R Group alleges that Luckin Coffee strong-armed them into abandoning the disputed trademark before the court rendered its final verdict, even seizing property in some instances. The US$290 million claim is a bid to recover losses incurred during this tumultuous period.

Luckin Coffee, on the other hand, took to the Chinese microblogging site Weibo in December 2023, expressing bewilderment at the lawsuit. They claimed it had yet to be verified, asserting they couldn’t understand the legal action and were shocked by the move.

Related news

Founded in Beijing in 2017, Luckin Coffee reigns as China’s coffee titan, boasting over 13,200 stores. Despite the legal wrangling, the brand has expanded internationally, including 30 outlets in Singapore since March 2023. However, the value-focused coffee chain vehemently refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of 50R Group’s Thai stores, considering them counterfeit and a menace to the Luckin brand.

Thai media reports paint a picture of contrasting menus, with 50R Group’s offerings reportedly 30% smaller than Luckin Coffee in China, and prices around 60% higher. In a curious turn of events, Luckin Coffee’s official franchise business in Singapore charges approximately 60% more than its Chinese counterparts, alongside the chain’s trademark heavy promotional discounting, reported World Coffee Portal.

50R Group, besides its foray into the caffeine realm, is reported to have stakes in energy, tourism, real estate, and catering. The Thai Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) reveals that 50R Group boasts a whopping 191 registered trademarks, setting the stage for a clash of corporate titans that extends beyond just coffee beans.

China NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

Related Articles