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Monday, September 9, 2013

Trademark descriptiveness in Indonesia

The problem of using descriptive English terms as trade marks in a country where English is not the first language is a common one. Indonesia where English is spoken well by the middle classes, ought not to have such a problem. But the TMO does. Take a look at some of the marks on the register:

ESPRESSO & Logo - registered for coffee
DEEPCLEAN block letters - registered for skin care and cleaning products
FRESH'N HYGIENE stylised font - registered for soaps

The most famous case on this is JELLYBEANS, a revocation case filed to revoke that mark for candy products.

The test at the TMO is low and so many such marks are registered. It is essential to search well to avoid running into conflicts with registered descriptive marks. Even using descriptive tag lines is risky without searching. Of course you can sue to revoke these marks, but this is an expensive defensive option after you have run into trouble. Safer to know the position in advance.

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