The multinational Swedish furniture manufacturer IKEA has lost its trade mark in Indonesia following a trade mark dispute with a local Indonesian rattan furniture company.
Although the Swedish manufacturer registered its trade mark IKEA in Indonesia in 2010, as it did not use its trade mark actively for three consecutive years following registration, under Indonesian laws the mark can be removed. Meanwhile, the local rattan furniture company registered its IKEA trade mark in December 2013 with IKEA being an acronym for Intan Khatulistiwa Esa Abadi, namely the Indonesian words referring to the rattan industry.
In mid-2014 when the Swedish manufacturer was building its first store in Indonesia, the local rattan furniture company brought legal proceedings against the Swedish manufacturer to cancel their mark for non-use and won. The Swedish manufacturer appealed, but the Supreme Court ruled against it. Although the ruling was made in May 2015, it was only recently published on the Court’s website.
This case is a reminder for brand owners that even reputation of a mark outside the territory in question does not automatically save them or give them the exclusive right to own that trade mark. Brand owners should ensure that they use their registered marks in order to prevent them from losing it for non-use.
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