Friday, July 6, 2012

BIORF & BIORE a typical Indonesian TM fight

It's a rarely lamented problem, that Indonesia has no system for cancelling trademarks at the Trademarks Office. Worsened by some Indonesian businesses' predeliction for unauthorised registration of others' well known marks. Aggrieved IP holders complaining of pirate trademark registrations must go to the Commercial Court to revoke these marks. This one is a classic.

Kao Corporation of Japan sued local company PT Sintong Abadi for cancellation of its mark BIORF, which Kao says is similar to its well known BIORE personal care products mark and was registered in bad faith. Here are the two marks. PT Sintong only has one mark registered, in class 3 for personal care products.

But the Central Jakarta Commercial Court found otherwise and decided the marks are not similar. How can that be? The judges may have rejected Kao's evidence if it was not presented properly, but the only evidence it really needed was its registration certificate. Possibly they claimed well known mark which involved a lot of evidence and this enabled the judges to find in favour of the local party.

Sintong's lawyer was in the newspaper saying the trademark was used to protect different goods. “Biore is facial treatment goods, and Biorf is home appliances,”. Well that's not quite accurate since the mark is registered in class 3 and used on personal care products. See Sintong's range in the photo.
There certainly is a rice cooker there, but they clearly make soaps and detergents as their webiste indicates. 
Sintong is a conglomerate with multiple businesses from palm oil to biofuel. Its consumer goods range comprises both the BIORF brand as well as others whcih do not appear copied from anyone.
It does fit a rather classic pattern, a non Jakarta business, which got in early with a suspicious mark and then somehow manage to win a dodgy court case. No doubt Kao will appeal to the Supreme Court, where one often finds tricky lower court decisions are overturned.


1 comment:

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