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Mombasa, China firms take fight for ‘Thermos’ to court

court case
Doshi Iron Mongers wants the High Court to declare it the legal owner of the trademark ‘Thermos’. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Kenyan firm and a Chinese-based company have taken their battle over the ownership of famous trademark ‘Thermos’ to the court with each claiming its proprietorship

The Mombasa-based Doshi Iron Mongers Limited wants Mombasa High Court to declare it the legal owner of the trademark and revoke one issued to the Chinese Thermos Hong Kong Limited by Registrar of Trademarks.

In a case filed before Justice Patrick Otieno, the Kenyan-based company wants the court to allow it used the trademark, which is usually printed on most insulated flasks, to conduct its business without unfair competition from the rival company.

Thermos Limited originally owned the trademark Thermos but the firm later changed its name to Household Containers Limited.

Ashok Doshi, director of Doshi Iron Mongers Limited said his company’s claim for the trademark is genuine since it was given the authority to manufacture and trade in goods relating to the emblem by the Registrar of Trademarks.

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Trademarks

Mr Doshi said after his company conducted a search of the trademark ‘Thermos’ on June 23, 2004, the Registrar of Trademarks informed it was available for registration.

“Our application to register the trademark on July 12, 2006, was initially rejected on the basis that it was identical to another belonging to Thermos Limited but was later approved upon removal of the trademark from the register due to non-renewal by the registered proprietor ‘Thermos Limited’,” he said.

But the Chinese company through its director Alex Huang argued the Industrial Property Journal erroneously removed the trademark from the registry.

Mr Huang, who is also the chairman of the company said notices were wrongly issued to Household Containers Ltd instead of Thermos Hong Kong.

“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,” he said.

Mr Huang said their trademark was renewed after the assistant registrar realised the removal notices from the registry were sent to the wrong address, making the process invalid and misleading.

He accused Doshi of registering a trademark identical to theirs.

The hearing continues on May 27.

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