Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea lost the right to use its own name in Indonesia after the Southeast Asian country’s highest court ruled the trademark belonged to PT Ratania Khatulistiwa, a company based in the port city of Surabaya that manufactures rattan furniture.
Rattan is the name for many varieties of palm, and raw rattan is used to make furniture and handicraft items such as baskets and decorative pieces. It looks like bamboo on the outside but unlike bamboo, it is not hollow; instead, it is solid like wood.
The modular furniture giant had trademarked its name in Indonesia in 2010 and opened its first — and only — store in the country in September 2014, near the capital, Jakarta. Since the company did not use its trademark actively for three consecutive years after registering it, it could be deleted under the country’s laws, the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing the Supreme Court ruling.
PT Ratania Khatulistiwa registered its Ikea trademark in December 2013, where Ikea is an acronym for Intan Khatulistiwa Esa Abadi, Indonesian words referring to the rattan industry, according to the AP. The company took Ikea to court when its store outside Jakarta was still under construction, and won. Ikea appealed against the lower court ruling last year, but the Supreme Court also ruled against it, the AP reported, adding that the ruling was made in May last year, but only became public knowledge after it was published on the court’s website Thursday.
The Supreme Court ruling was not anonymous, a court spokesman said Friday, the Guardian reported. One of the three judges who ruled in the case argued that the trademark law could not be applied to a company the size of Ikea, which was far bigger than the plaintiff in the case.
The name Ikea is also an acronym, based on the names of its founder Ingvar Kamprad, and the farm Elmtaryd and village Agunnaryd, places where he grew up.