Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hansen Beverages' MONSTER ENERGY case runs out of energy in the Supreme Court

Monster Energy company /Hansen Beverage Company owns the MONSTER brand of energy drinks, usually registered in class 5. The brand was created in 1992 in the USA and has several MONSTER- variations used and registered in many countries. It is the second biggest energy drink brand globally. In Indonesia, they obtained trade mark registrations for MONSTER and variations in various classes.
But their marks for MONSTER and MONSTER ENERGY in class 5 were rejected by the the Directorate General of Intellectual Property (DGIP) as similar to an existing MONSTER trade mark in class 5 in the name of Andria Thamrin.
So Hansen Beverage filed a non-use deletion case against Andria Thamrin. To support its claim they showed that Thamrin had no product marketing approval for beverages at the Indonesian FDA (BPOM). Hansen Beverage had a 3rd party conduct a market survey in Indonesia and also provided online evidence which showed no use of the mark by Thamrin.

Thamrin argued a procedural defence that the claim was premature because the claim was filed while the Hansen's appeals against the rejection of their own marks to the Trade Mark Appeal Commissions ("TMAC") were still ongoing. The Central Jakarta Commercial Court found this was correct and the Supreme Court upheld this recently.

This is arguable since the non-use case was about Thamrin's trademarks and the TMAC case is about Hansen's trademarks. And the two causes of action differed - one was trademark similarity and the other was non use. But this is not the first time that the courts in Indonesia have blurred the issue of causes of action. In fact while there is often a strict requirement that where the parties in litigation differ cases must be separated, it is less clear when two causes of action are fought between two parties. Trademark owners need to take great care not to have similar proceedings running simultaneously.


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