Thailand's 50R Group has filed a lawsuit against China's Luckin Coffee, claiming 10 billion baht (US$290 million) in compensation, according to Thai media reports released on Wednesday.
50R Group said in a court filing that it had legally registered the “Luckin” trademark with the Thai Ministry of Commerce in 2020 and was allowed to use the trademark to operate coffee shops that sell tea and coffee drinks. However, China’s Luckin Coffee later filed a lawsuit at Thailand’s Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, accusing 50R Group of maliciously registering trademarks. The first instance court ruled in favor of China's Luckin Coffee, a decision which was reportedly reversed by the appeal court in early December.
50R Group also claimed in its latest lawsuit that Luckin Coffee had forced it to stop the use of the disputed trademark before the court made a final decision, causing 50R Group serious economic losses. 50R Group is asking the court to award it a total of 10 billion baht(US$290 million) in compensation.
Luckin Coffee is a Chinese coffee company and coffeehouse chain. It was founded in Beijing in 2017. Wikipedia data reveals that as of June 5, the total Luckin coffee store number reached 10,000. It quickly expanded over the years and outnumbered the number of Starbucks stores in China by 2019.
50R Group is mainly engaged in retail, new energy, tourism, real estate, catering and other businesses. It set up Thailand's Luckin Coffee in March 2019 and started operating stores in December 2020. Currently, it runs a dozen of Luckin Coffee stores in Thailand.
Social media photos show that the Thailand company's logo bears high similarity with that of China’ s Luckin Coffee, with a just small difference seen in the facing direction of the deer image.
According to legal experts, under Article 63 of the Thai Trademark Law, if the Thai company first registered the trademark with the Thai Trademark Office, it will have the right to engage in business in this field in Thailand, which is the reason why Luckin lost the lawsuit. However, if Luckin appeals the decision and proves that it used the brand earlier and is more influential around the world, the court could reconsider its previous ruling.