Monday, May 30, 2011

Toyota wins cross class protection in the Supreme Court

Toyota has been battling various local trademark registrants for some time over it's LEXUS trademark. It lost a case in Jauary in the Jakarta Commercial Court against an IT company called PT Lexus Daya Utama over it's class 9 mark LEXUS. The details of that case are here.

The Supreme Court overturned the case in early May. It seems that the Supreme Court accepted that LEXUS is a well known mark despite the lower court rejecting this argument. Well known mark evidence is somewhat contentious in Indonesia with the courts sometimes accepting weak piles of evidence, and in other cases refusing to accept some categoties of otherwise important documents. Bad faith was argued but it is not clear if there was evidence of actual bad faith or just an implication from the identicality of the words.

One common argument which well known mark holders can use is copying of their company name; however LEXUS is a brand, and unlike TOYOTA not also the company name. So for LEXUS it was all the more important to put before the court proper fame and reputation evidence as well as clear bad faith evidence.

This case also raises the thorny problem of trade names, for which there isn't at present a clear way to stop use of. We shall see if  PT Lexus Daya Utama changes its name voluntarily or whether more litigation will need to follow.

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