Lao Ban Soya Beancurd (老伴豆花) is a familiar brand name among beancurd lovers in Singapore.
Recently, its founder, Mr Li Pui Shing, took his own son to court over copyright issues with the younger Li’s Xiao Ban Soya Beancurd (小伴豆花) stores.
According to the Lao Ban founder, his son, Ken Li, had employed various ways of giving the impression that both brands are related family businesses.
Some instances of this include selling Lao Ban products at Xiao Ban stores and publishing information about Lao Ban on their own Facebook page.
When probed, the younger Li claimed that his Xiao Ban business is related to his father’s Lao Ban brand.
However, his father maintained that the two brands are not linked, and even criticised his son for plagiarism.
In addition, he also accused his son of wanting to ride on the good reputation that Lao Ban has built up over the years.
In defence, Mr Ken Li revealed that it was actually him who thought up the Lao Ban brand.
Furthermore, the rights to the logo, depicting an elderly couple, was owned by his younger sister back in 2011 before she transferred the rights to their father in 2015.
The elder Li had also agreed to let his children use the Lao Ban brand to open shop branches.
However, the elder Li argued that Xiao Ban cannot be counted as a family business since most of its major shareholders are outsiders who share no family ties with him.
The logos of the 2 brands are undeniably similar, with Lao Ban’s showing an elderly couple while Xiao Ban’s version depicting a younger couple.
Beancurd from both shops also taste the same, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Interestingly, our quick Google search of Lao Ban beancurd found that Xiao Ban topped the list of searches instead.
Court disputes are never ideal, and even more so when it’s between members of the same family.
We hope the pair will be able to find common ground and reach an amicable settlement soon.
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