China’s largest web company Tencent Holdings won a trademark cancellation case relating to its ‘QQ’ trademark in Indonesia on Thursday.
Tencent Holdings hosts a range of online gaming and social media sites, including the instant messenger service QQ, and operates QQ.com, the ninth-most visited site in the world.
Indonesia is the world’s third-largest user of Tencent’s mobile platform QQ Browser.
In September of last year, Tencent Holdings sued an Indonesian businessman who registered three trademarks similar to ‘QQ’, two in 2006 and one in 2009, alleging that he did so in bad faith.
Tencent Holdings initiated the case after the Indonesian Trademark Office rejected its further trademark applications for ‘QQ’ in different classes.
Indonesia is a first-to-file jurisdiction for trademarks. The Jakarta Commercial Court ruled in Tencent Holdings’ favour as it applied for its trademarks in 2001, also finding that ‘QQ’ should be considered a well-known trademark in Indonesia.
The defendant has appealed against the decision.
Januar Jahja, managing partner of Januar Jahja and Partners, which represented Tencent, said: “The evidence was very clear: Tencent was the first registrant in Indonesia of the ‘QQ’ mark for the goods and services at issue.
“The defendant’s marks are similar to Tencent’s prior registrations and cover similar goods. Under Indonesian law, the later registrations must be cancelled. The court was absolutely right in its decision.”
Andrew Diamond, foreign legal consultant at Januar Jahja and Partners, acknowledged that although there is a trademark “squatting” problem in Indonesia, this was not such a case.
As Tencent Holdings filed its trademark first, the case was “factually dissimilar to a squatting situation,” he said.
He observed that there is good protection of international brands in the Jakarta Commercial Court, with IKEA, Adidas and Toyota all successfully defending their trademarks there in the last year.
The ruling came on the same day Tencent Holdings and Indonesian media group PT Global Mediacom announced that they would be starting a joint venture to tap into the country’s growing online media base.
This article was first published on 01 March 2013 in World IP Review
Tencent Holdings, QQ, trademark cancellation, Jakarta Commercial Court