DC COMICS Fails to Cancel the Indonesian “SUPERMAN” trademarks

The Indonesian Supreme Court does not accept the cassation filed by DC COMICS against PT. Marxing Fam Makmur (“Indonesian company”) under court decision No. 1105 K/Pdt.Sus-HKI/2018, related to the trademark “Superman” under the registration Nos. IDM000374438 and IDM000374439. In this case, the Supreme Court took sides with the Indonesian company based on the consideration that the prior decision that had been decided by the Commercial Court (Judex Facti) was correct and the lawsuit filed by DC COMICS could not be accepted (niet ontvankelijk verklaard). The Supreme Court’s decision was made in December 2018 but only surfaced publicly on June 1, 2019, through its online publication by the court.

With regard to the above case, the Judges stated in the consideration of the decison that the lawsuit filed by DC COMICS was unclear (obscuur libel) due to the combination lawsuit of DC COMICS which requested the Court to cancel the “Superman” trademark under registration Nos. IDM000374438 and IDM000374439 as well as requested the Trademark Office to grant the DC COMICS’s pending trademark applications. Moreover, the Judges also stated that the DC COMICS’s Attorney had exceeded the authority given by DC COMICS since the Power of Attorney only authorized the Attorney to request for a cancellation against the defendant’s trademark registrations and not to request the Trademark Office to grant DC COMICS’s pending trademark applications. Therefore, based on the said consideration, the Supreme Court considered that the lawsuit was obscuur libel and decided not to accept the cassation filed by DC COMICS.

For your information, the above-mentioned cassation was actually the further attempt of DC COMICS to cancel the “Superman” trademark under registration Nos. IDM000374438 and IDM000374439 after DC COMICS failed to win the lawsuit in the Commercial Court. The first lawsuit filed by DC COMICS was not accepted by the Commercial Court with the same consideration as the decision of the cassation.

In view of the above matter, a lesson that can be taken from this case is that the Attorney should be more careful in drafting the lawsuit in order to prevent filing unclear lawsuit with the court. Further, the Attorney should also be precise related to the scope of authority stated on a Power of Attorney so that the Attorney will not exceed the authority given by the client.

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