Indonesian Court Rules Against Power Root’s Subsidiary, Imposing RM23 Million Penalty in ‘Ah Huat’ Trademark Dispute

On November 15, 2023, the Central Jakarta Commercial Court of Indonesia issued an unexpected order demanding that Power Root Berhad (‘Power Root’), a publicly listed Malaysian company along with its subsidiaries, pay a significant sum of 74.5 billion rupiah (equivalent to approximately RM23 million). This legal action stems from a trademark dispute with Indonesian Limited Liability Partnership CV Ego Sun Star Sukses Mandiri (‘CV Ego’), revolving around Power Root’s renowned brand “Ah Huat,” known for its coffee and tea beverages.

On January 3, 2024, through a formal annoucement on Bursa Malaysia online portal, Power Root stated that they were not given sufficient notice of the court proceedings. Neither Power Root nor its subsidiaries had received any notifications or documents from the judicial authorities, resulting in Power Root being unrepresented in the aforementioned legal proceedings. Hence, the Commercial Court violated local Indonesian laws requiring proper service of legal documents to the respondent. The respondent, unaware of the proceedings, was deprived of the chance to present their defence, providing a valid basis for appeal that Power Root could raise.

Moreover, a recent trademark infringement lawsuit brought by CV Ego against Power Root’s subsidiary, involving the contested “Ah Huat” trademark and seeking damages totaling Rp. 74,500,000,000.00 (approximately USD 5.0 million or RM23 million), was dismissed by the Commercial Court. Sufficient evidence was presented indicating that CV Ego’s ‘Ah Huat’ trademark application was submitted on February 21, 2013, which was approximately one year after the Power Root Group initially filed the ‘Ah Huat’ trademark on April 25, 2012, in Malaysia and in various countries, including Australia, Macau, Japan, and others.

Based on advice from its legal representatives in Indonesia, K&K Advocates, Power Root has been informed that there are compelling grounds to appeal, and there is a significant probability that Power Root could successfully challenge the decision delivered by the Commercial Court by submitting an appeal to the Supreme Court of Indonesia. The company intends to proceed accordingly and will instruct its legal representatives to initiate the appeal process in due course. Through the official statement, Power Root has emphasized its unwavering commitment and intent to vigorously defend and challenge any claims in order to safeguard its trademarks and trade names.

This incident serves as a valuable lesson for all businesses that may not have adequately secured and defended their intellectual property rights. Insufficient protection can create vulnerabilities, providing an opportunity for malicious parties to exploit and encroach upon the intellectual property rights of others. Intellectual property rights, being intangible, are frequently underestimated by businesses, and their value is often challenging to quantify in monetary terms. Businesses and individuals are strongly encouraged to proactively secure their intellectual property protection before encountering any adverse incidents.

With over two decades of experience, PINTAS is an Intellectual Property Firm dedicated to delivering services for the protection and commercialization of intellectual property throughout the ASEAN region. If you are interested in enhancing your knowledge of safeguarding and commercializing your intellectual property assets, feel free to reach out to us. Take advantage of the opportunity to arrange a complimentary consultation session today.