What’s in a name? Everything, especially when it comes to trademarks. A battle for the name THERMOS ended up in a Mombasa court as two companies claim ownership. Doshi Iron Mongers Limited claims it is the legal owner of the name which is currently issued to Thermos Hong Kong Limited.
The name is synonymous with a vacuum flask the world over and it is not uncommon for someone to just ask for a thermos in the supermarket. The name therefore gives great business leverage for any company that has it as its product name.
Thermos Limited originally owned the trademark. The company then changed its name to Household Containers Limited, a decision that might have caused confusion at the Registrar of Trademarks. When Doshi applied to search and register the name as a trademark, it was available as the original owner had not renewed its proprietorship.
Doshi registered the trademark on July 12, 2006 and has been manufacturing products labelled under the same name. However, Thermos Hong Kong Limited claimed that the confusion might have arisen from the fact that the Registrar sent communication regarding to the trademark to the wrong company.
“Renewal notices were sent to the wrong parties Household Containers Limited. Therefore, the advertisement of removal of the trademark Thermos published in the Industrial Property Journal was invalid, null and void,” said Mr Alex Huang, the chairman of the Chinese company. He argued the removal of the name which effectively made it available was erroneous.
Asho Doshi argued that they registered the name when it was removed from the Industrial Property Journal because the owner, Thermos Limited, failed to renew its rights to ownership. The parties will appear before Justice Patrick Otieno of the Mombasa High Court on May 7 for the hearing of the case.
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