Two French Smile Mart copycats get one-year prison sentences

Motorists pass by one of the knock-off Smile Marts in Phnom Penh. Supplied
Motorists pass by one of the knock-off Smile Marts in Phnom Penh. Supplied

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge has sentenced two Frenchmen to a year in prison for trademark violations after the pair allegedly created a knock-off outlet of the Smile mini-mart chain.

The court sentenced Bruno Dubigeon and Thomas Herbaut on March 5. It only issued an arrest warrant, obtained on Tuesday, for Dubigeon. According to the complainant’s lawyer, Tim Sopheap, Dubigeon was an early partner of Smile Retail Group, which was founded in 2008 and has convenience stores throughout the capital.

While Sopheap declined to name his client, The Post has previously identified Kirk MacManus as the owner and founder of the firm. The client alleged the defendants had opened a store using Smile’s signage despite it not having any affiliation with the company. The defendants named their new company Smile Dragon Asia Ltd and used a very similar logo.

A man who initially identified himself as Herbaut said he was not “aware” of the conviction, before claiming the reporter had the wrong number.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said it was unusual for an arrest warrant to be issued for one co-defendant but not the other.