Friday, February 4, 2011

LEXUS' well known mark blues

The Jakarta Commercial Court in a decision delivered on 5 January rejected a claim by Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) to cancel a LEXUS trademark registration in class 9 owned by an Indonesian company PT Lexus Daya Utama.  The panel of judges ruled that Toyota could not succeed based on its prior registration in class 12 for motor cars and spare parts since the goods covered by Toyota's registration were different.  PT Lexus Daya Utama's registration covers computer related goods.

On well known mark grounds relied on by Toyota, the panel of judges ruled that Toyota failed to prove fame in the LEXUS mark. The court considered that overseas trade mark registrations for LEXUS were not sufficient since the plaintiff only submitted photocopies of the overseas certificates. There is a bad faith claim in the case, but the judges did not appear to decide on this.

Toyota had previously won a similar case to cancel a mark LEXUS for food products in which the court had decided the mark was well known.

This case highlights the importance of providing proper evidence when asserting well known mark. Without a precedent system, Indonesian courts are not bound by other rulings.  All too frequently cancellation cases are filed with limited supporting documentation and insufficient evidence. The cost of losing is significant as these are full scale court litigation, and appeals are made harder if insufficient evidence or arguments are raised.

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