Saturday, May 7, 2016

Asics beaten in TIGER logo race in Indonesia

Image result for asics tiger logo
Asics Corporation the Japanese sportswear company has various brands including its name ASICS, its logo and variations as well as brands like the Onitsuka Tiger logo, a heritage shoe brand. In a very typical Indonesian brand piracy situation two defendants: Theng Tjhing Djie, Liong Hian Fa registered various logos in Indonesia between 1994 to 1996, which look very similar to the ASICS TIGER logo and incorporated their sub brands.  One Defendant appears to have transferred copyright in them from one to the other and they appear to have had copyright registrations too. 

The Plaintiff sued to cancel the marks claiming that the Defendants registered the marks in bad faith to take advantage of the Plaintiff’s popularity. The Defendants argued that the Plaintiff’s claim is unclear and should not be accepted. The Defendants filed a counter-claim to declare that they are the rightful owners of the logos’ copyright which are also registered in Indonesia, so the Plaintiff Asics was suing them in bad faith. 

The Central Jakarta Commercial Court accepted parts of the Defendant’s argument. In particular Asics had mixed up copyright and trademarks its its claims so the Judges rejected much of Asics' arguments. Asics filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. But this claim related to copyright too, around who first published the logo. So the Supreme Court confirmed the lower court's appeal.
Cases are frequently rejected for containing mixed claims like this. 

Asics could have filed a pure bad faith trademark case, and then a separate case to cancel the copyrights. The Defendants exploited a rigid approach taken by the law in Indonesia, and claimed both trademark and copyright to support their pirate registrations. The Plaintiff needed to deal with these separately.

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