The recent decision made by Indonesia’s Jakarta District Court for Swedish furniture giant IKEA to face elimination and effectively lose its trademark rights in the name IKEA, has sparked concern for the future of foreign investment in one of Southeast Asia’s largest economies.

This dispute between the foreign and local furniture makers initially began with Swedish furniture brand, IKEA’s trademark registration within the Indonesian market for the name IKEA, made both in 2006 and in 2010.A local Indonesian furniture maker; ‘Intan Khatulistiwa Esa Abadi’; later in December 2013, filed for the trademark IKEA but encountered some issues during the application process due to the household name IKEA having already been processed and approved.

The Indonesian rattan furniture company, PT Patania Khatulistiwa, applied forits trademark IKEA to stand as an acronym of its previously mentioned extended name as a reference to the rattan industry.

IKEA had registered both previous trademarks to the Indonesian Directorate-General of Intellectual Property ,but now faced the argument held by the Jakarta Supreme Court that their trademark had in fact not been used for commercial purposes in almost three consecutive years. A hard argument to rebut in the Trademark industry as experts of IP Rights know it all to well – You better Use it or you’ll lose it!

And lost it they did.

The proximate case proceedings of the trademark infringment involving Swedish furniture brand IKEA and local Rattan furniture maker Intan Khatulistiwa Esa Abadi, originated mid-2014. Later in September 2014, the Jakarta District Court came to recognise the rights of the brand name IKEA, belonged to the local company Intan Khatulistiwa Esa Abadi.

This highlights the need to trademark owners that it is not sufficient to register a name as a trade mark but also:

  • monitor the marketplace for use of that brand; and
  • use it for the goods/services for which it is registered or risk removal of the mark for non-use.