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Puma Energy threatens legal action on trademark infringement

Singapore oil company Puma Energy is officially prohibiting the use of its trademark, name and logo in Myanmar after a local petrol station began branding itself as Puma Power and displaying a logo that is almost identical to the former’s in the local market.

The notice was published by Puma Energy’s lawyer on the company’s social media page in Myanmar and via state-owned media on March 11.

In Myanmar, Puma Energy is registered under the moniker Puma Energy Asia Sun (PEAS). PEAS is a joint ventured controlled by Puma Energy in partnership with local firm Asia Sun. The joint venture operates the country’s largest petroleum products storage facility at the Thilawa Port in Yangon. The US$92 million facility has the capacity to store up to 91,000 cubic meters of bitumen, diesel, gasoline and Jet A-1 fuel.

The company officially registered its trademark and logo in Myanmar in 2013.

Puma Energy also runs a joint venture with State-owned Myanma Petroleum Products Enterprise – National Energy Puma Aviation Services – which is in the business of importing, storing and distributing diesel, petrol, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gas, bitumen, heavy fuel oil, engine oil and jet fuel in Myanmar.

However, Puma Energy is not in the business of owning or operating petrol stations under its brand. In its statement, the company clarified that all Puma Power petrol stations displaying logos similar to its running wild cat silhouette are not associated, connected or affiliated with Puma Energy.

The company added that it will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to protect its trademark and the goodwill attached to the Puma Energy brand name, including taking legal action against Puma Power for infringing on its registered trademark and passing off.

Passing off happens when a business deliberately or unintentionally passes off their goods or services as those belonging to another party.

Puma Energy’s move comes just two months after the Trademark Law and Industrial Design Law were passed into legislation by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on January 30.

However, the laws will be effective only after a notification is issued by the President of Myanmar. There has been no indication on when the President will issue a notification on the effective date of the Trademark Law or the Industrial Design Law.

Should PEAS decide to take legal action under the existing laws, it has the option to sue Puma Power for any financial loss or reputational damage or issue an injunction to stop the latter from selling under its current logo. The process could take up to two years, the Myanmar Times understands.

Since 2015, during the previous administration, the government has been trying to enact regulations covering intellectual property rights, including a trademark law, industrial design law, copy right law and patents law. While the trademark law and industrial design law have been enacted, the draft copy right law and patents law are still being discussed in the Amotha Hluttaw.

SOURCE: MYANMAR TIMES

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