The Jakarta Post
Thailand's intellectual property department head Nantawan Sukuntanak (left) carries a shopping bag made in Thailand that is similar in appearance to items produced by the brand Balenciaga. A model (right) walks at the Balenciaga Autumn/Winter 2016 runway show at Paris Fashion Week on March 6. (The Nation/-)
Balenciaga's huge tote bags, worn by catwalk models during the recent Paris Fashion Week, became a trending topic online due to their similarity to Thailand's shopping bags.
The Thai bags, kompas.com reported, could easily be found in various sizes at the country's traditional markets.
Following the debut of the French luxury brand's Autumn/Winter 2016-17 collection by its new creative director, Demna Gvasalia, netizens, especially those from Thailand, humorously posted editorial fashion-like photos of themselves wearing Thai sampheng bags, which are made of plastic and feature a vertical rainbow pattern, on social media using the hashtags#balenciaga and #balenciagabag.
Humor aside, the similarity between the two bags is apparently so concerning that Thailand’s head of intellectual property Nantawan Sakuntanak felt the need to announce that neither the Thai-based bag manufacturer nor Balenciaga had legal could sue for violation of property rights as the Thai bags, used by vendors for years, were made of plastic, not leather, unlike the Balenciaga version. They also differ in shape, color, design pattern and trademark, he said.
According to a report by The Nation, Sakuntanak said that a violation of intellectual property rights only existed if there was an exact duplication of an original product that had a registered trademark, brand or design, with the intention of misleading consumers or taking advantage of a brand's popularity.
Sakuntanak added that similar bags were also widely used in neighboring countries such as China.
People were reportedly worried that if they happened to wear the Thai bags in Europe that they could be accused of using counterfeit Balenciaga products.
The Balenciaga bag is reportedly priced at almost 100,000 Thai baht (US$2,852), while the Thai version costs less than a dollar. (kes)
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