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Thailand: Tilleke & Gibbons Law Firm – A Novel Approach to Evaluating the Similarity of Trademarks in Thailand

Author Piyawat Kayasit

August 29, 2018

The Court of Appeal for Specialized Cases (Specialized Appeal Court) was established in October 2016 to review all appeals against the judgments of the five specialized first instance courts in Thailand, including the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court (IP&IT Court). Most, if not all, judges of the Specialized Appeal Court, who are responsible for reviewing IP-related appeals, have had experience working as judges at the IP&IT Court and can be expected to be well versed in IP law and practices. They are capable of providing fair, practical, and sometimes novel judgments, as illustrated in a recent case involving how similarity of trademarks should be evaluated.

Opposition of Similar Trademarks

In June 2009, a Thai company filed an application for registration of the trademark MOBIL-AG & Device, Application No. 734360, for use with goods in Class 1, namely chemical fertilizers. This application was subsequently published in a trade gazette in September 2012. As the applicant’s mark is closely similar to the well-known registered trademarks of Exxon Mobil Corporation (“ExxonMobil”), ExxonMobil filed an opposition petition against this application with the Trademark Office in December 2012 under Section 13 of the Trademark Act, among others. The opposition was based on several prior registered trademarks of ExxonMobil, particularly:

  1. Trademark Registration No. Kor. 63198, registered for use with goods in Class 4, including lubricant oil, kerosene, gasoline, diesel; and
  2. Trademark Registration No. Kor. 99756, registered for use with goods in Class 5, including antiseptics in plants and pesticides.

The marks are shown in the table below.

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