Sunday, February 17, 2013

Apple retailer dispute reaches trial in Indonesia

PT Multicom Persada International owns a class 9 registration for the brand IBOX for various electronic products. PT Daya Citra Mandiri is an authorised reseller of Apple products and uses the name iBox at more than 20 outlets in Jakarta and major cities in Indonesia, many in top shopping malls (see picture). Multicom sued Daya Citra for trademark infringement and damages. Daya Citra has a registration for iBox in class 35 for retail services.

The Jakarta Commercial Court held in early February that the two marks differed. First they were not similar due to different placement of the letter i. iBox is composed of  a small "i" next to letters that form the word Box, all written horizontally. While the plaintiff 's IBOX brand consisted of a logo with "I" placed vertically and above the letters BOX.
More importantly the defendant's retail stores providings services in class 35 is not the same as the registration of the plaintiff in class 9.
Any trademark expert would ask a lot of questions of this decision. But perhaps there is justice in the somewhat weak arguments used by the court, when you read the general comments it made about how the defendant was not free riding on the Plaintiff's mark, and they did not disturb the Plaintiff's trade.  The case smells of Multicom looking to get leverage over Apple's powerful distribution agent.
PT Multicom Persada International Daniel Setiawan said it would appeal.

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