Carlsberg Caves After Tuborg Transliteration Dispute

By Tin Htet Paing 20 January 2016

RANGOON — Danish brewer Carlsberg Group announced on Tuesday that it will change the Burmese transliteration of its Tuborg Beer labels following a dispute over intellectual property.

Carlsberg launched the beverage in Burma last April, using the name “Tu Po” in Burmese script on its products. The name is spelled and pronounced the same as the title a beloved song associated with Thingyan, the country’s biggest cultural festival.

The family of the songwriter, Myoma Nyein, said last week that it would sue the company if it did not change its labeling. The family claimed that Carlsberg preferred the phrase Tu Po over a more accurate transliteration in order to capitalize on the song’s popularity.

“In light of the claims of the relatives of the late Sayar Myoma Nyein and the general debate around the use of ‘Tu Po’ in the marketing of Tuborg Beer, we will discontinue the use of this spelling going forward and, to avoid any future misinterpretation, the Danish brand name ‘Tuborg’ will be used in Myanmar,” the company said in a statement.

“We are taking immediate steps to implement the necessary modifications and will endeavor to have this completed before Thingyan,” it continued, though Myoma Nyein’s family had initially requested that the changes be made within one week.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday, Myoma Nyein’s son, Shwun Myaing said the family welcomed the company’s statement but was disappointed that they were not personally informed.

“We accept this, but the statement was only intended for the media and online,” he said. “They haven’t informed our family yet. The company still needs to come and see us to understand our wishes and whether we are satisfied. This is a way of showing respect in our culture.”