Intel wins brand victory over clothing maker

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Intel scored a legal victory in Indonesia on Thursday that brings the country more into line with global practice on intellectual property protection.

The supreme court has cancelled a local apparel maker’s domestic trademark, ruling that the world’s biggest chipmaker was entitled to copyright protection as a well-known brand in spite of the fact that Intel Jeans products bore no resemblance to electronic chips.

“This is a good decision for Intel, but it’s also a good decision for other well-known brand names who haven’t had their trademarks recognised by the courts. This is a very positive step forward because it solidifies the way Indonesia is meeting its international obligations,” said Sarah Holder, a Jakarta-based legal consultant.

Intel is still fighting what is now a 13-year legal battle against another Indonesian company using the Intel name. Lawyers and intellectual property experts said it was still likely to be years before intellectual property protection was sufficiently enforced in Indonesian culture for foreign investors to have confidence in the market.

According to the Business Software Alliance, 87 per cent of software used in Indonesia is fake. The estimated $280m in lost revenue this causes, according to the industry group, puts Indonesia behind only Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

John Matheson, Intel’s group general counsel for Asia-Pacific, said Indonesia was “at the start of the curve” compared with most other Asian nations.

“There’s no doubt that Indonesia has made improvements in its system and the commitment to improving IP protection seems to be real” he said. “But enforcement lags behind the letter of the law.”

Mari Pangestu, trade minister, said Indonesia would take years to defeat the violators. “For the last few years we’ve focused on the legal and enforcement part,” she said. “Now we need to go a step further and focus on public education.”

The US recognised Indonesia’s progress last November by moving it from a “priority watch” list to its “watch” list for intellectual property crimes.

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