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Case Studies

Étude de cas n°14 - Pratiques des marques en Thaïlande

Contexte
Une entreprise de confection espagnole a lancé avec succès une chaîne de boutiques de vêtements de marque en Indonésie. Elle envisage d'ouvrir prochainement une nouvelle filiale dans le sud de la Thaïlande. Conscient de la valeur des marques, le propriétaire de l'entreprise avait déjà enregistré la marque de ses produits en Indonésie dans la classe internationale 25 (vêtements, chaussures, chapellerie).

De par son expérience dans ce pays, il savait déjà que la procédure d'enregistrement pouvait durer jusqu'à deux ans. Par conséquent, dès qu'il a eu l'idée d'ouvrir une filiale en Thaïlande, il a déposé un dossier d'enregistrement de marque dans ce pays. Les biens indiqués dans son dossier étaient les mêmes que ceux pour lesquels il avait obtenu l'enregistrement en Indonésie (vêtements, chaussures et chapellerie). Toutefois, sa demande a été rejetée par le bureau des marques thaïlandais au motif que la description des biens était trop large au regard des pratiques d'enregistrement des marques en Thaïlande.

Étude de cas n°13 - Enregistrement abusif de marques en Indonésie

Contexte
Une entreprise de mode italienne de premier plan confectionne ses vêtements et les distribue dans ses boutiques. Elle est largement implantée et possède de nombreuses boutiques en Asie du Sud-Est. Elle détient plusieurs marques déposées, dont la marque « AAA » qu'elle a enregistrée dans de nombreux pays. Cette marque a notamment été enregistrée en Indonésie dans la catégorie des biens et services, dans les classes 18, 25 et 35.

L'enregistrement dans la classe 25 a été réalisé en 2008. Dans la mesure où sa marque avait été dûment enregistrée, l'entreprise italienne était assurée qu'aucune marque identique ou dont la similarité aurait pu induire une tromperie ou porter à confusion n'aurait pu être enregistrée dans les mêmes catégories de biens et/ou de services.

Il semble toutefois que le contrôleur des marques en Indonésie applique des critères moins stricts lorsqu'il compare des similarités entre des marques pour lesquelles une demande d'enregistrement a été déposée et celles qui ont déjà été enregistrées. En 2010, un particulier a déposé en Indonésie une demande d'enregistrement d'une marque identique à la marque « AAA » dans la catégorie des biens de la classe 25. Cette demande a été publiée au journal « Trademark Gazette » afin que des tierces parties puissent la contester dans le délai légal.

Heureusement, l'entreprise italienne faisait appel à un « service de veille » qui vérifie la publication d'enregistrements abusifs de marques dans ce journal. Elle a ainsi pu être alertée de l'enregistrement abusif de sa marque bien avant l'expiration du délai de contestation.

Case Study 12 – Unjust Appropriation of Famous Trade Mark by Local Firm in the Philippines

Background

A famous French culinary school tried to register its 1895 trade mark LE CORDON BLEU in the Philippines but it was opposed by a local entity which was owned by one of the graduates of the same school. The graduate started using the same mark in the Philippines long before the French school tried to register but never applied for trade mark registration. The local entity argued that it was the first to use the mark in the Philippines, thus it should be entitled to register the mark ahead of the French school. Subsequent to filing the opposition, the local entity filed its own trade mark application covering the same mark.

Case Study 11 – Thailand: Suing Trade Mark Board for Unlawful Decision

Background

A manufacturer of various safety products including disposable respirators (i.e., masks for protecting against dust and pollutants), traffic cones and reflective tapes, applied for registration of the trade mark VFLEX in respect of disposable respirators in Class 9 with the Thai Trademark Office. The trade mark Registrar rejected the application, saying that the mark was descriptive of the goods it was intended to cover because the letter V was a letter not shown in a stylised form and the word FLEX meant ‘bendable or flexible’ which, when used in respect of a disposable respirator, directly described the product (the Registrar explained further that a disposable respirator must be adjusted and bent along the contour of a human face.)

Case Study 10 – The Importance of Registering your Trade Mark in the Philippines

Background In 1994, the German company Birkenstock Orthopaedie Gmbh & Co., filed several trade mark applications for its mark ‘BIRKENSTOCK’ and its variants in the Philippines. To its surprise, Birkenstock learned that its ‘BIRKENSTOCK’ trade mark was already registered to a Philippine company called Philippine Shoe Expo Marketing Corporation (Shoe Expo). Birkenstock quickly filed actions for cancellation against the registered mark. While the cancellation case was pending, Shoe Expo failed to file the required 10th year Declaration of Actual Use (DAU). Failure to file the DAU results in the trade mark registrations being deemed withdrawn. Because of this, the cancellation action filed by Birkenstock was dismissed for being moot and academic, paving the way for its own trade mark applications to be allowed. Shoe Expo, not deterred by the cancellation of its registration, filed oppositions to the trade mark applications of Birkenstock, on the grounds that it had been using the mark ‘BIRKENSTOCK’ for over 16 years in the Philippines and that it had re-applied for said trade marks, and had also obtained copyright registration for the word ‘BIRKENSTOCK’ in 1991.

Case Study 09 – Similarity of Goods & Services: Trade Mark Registration in Vietnam

Background A well-known German company, a producer and distributor of eyewear, sunglasses and protective helmets, applied for trade mark protection under the Madrid system for its brand ‘X’ in 2010. The registration was applied for ‘goods & services’ in international trade mark classes 6-20, 35-37, and 39-41 (these categories indicate the type of product and must be used when filing for trade mark registrations internationally). Following the application, the brand ‘X’ was successfully registered in many countries worldwide. One of the designated countries was Vietnam.

Case Study 08 – Trade Mark Opposition Appeal in Singapore

Background Company A is a media company in Singapore with commercial interests in television, radio broadcasting and print publishing. The company operates an English news channel and is the registered proprietor of the ‘HHH’ Mark in Class 35 (Advertising; Business Management; Business Administration and Office Functions) of the Nice Trade Mark Classification System. Company B is a media and entertainment company which provides direct-to-home satellite television services in Malaysia and Brunei, amongst others. Company B applied to register a mark, the ‘BBB’ mark, which was allegedly similar in design to that of Company A, who then relied on sections 8(2) (b) and 8(3) of the Trade Marks Act to oppose Company B’s application. However, the Trade Marks Registrar concluded that there was a low likelihood of confusion between the marks. Company A then appealed to the High Court against the Registrar’s decision.

Case Study 06 - On-going Partner and Employee Due Diligence (Singapore)

Background                                           

A European craft beer company wishes to open a bar in Singapore.

 

Action taken

The European company decides that it will simply license the Singaporean partner to use its trade marks and sign up to a written one-year exclusive distribution deal. It allows the partner to register a local company which incorporates its business name and trade marks, to register its trade marks in Singapore, and to register a local domain name.

Case Study 05 – Importance of specifying copyright ownership in employment contracts (Indonesia)

Background A database formula which calculated land use in the mining industry was jointly developed by staff of a European structural engineering company based in Indonesia and one of its former employees. However, the former employee in question registered copyright of the database formula after it had been jointly developed and put to first use by the European company.