Monday, September 12, 2016

Case of the Day: Bangkok Imp. & Exp. Inc. v. Jamtan African Am. Mkt. Corp., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122425 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 29, 2016)


Plaintiff sued the defendant for trademark violation. The court issued an order to show cause why the plaintiff's complaint should not be dismissed, because the plaintiff's mark is the flag for the Kingdom of Laos, the predecessor for the current Laos People's Democratic Republic. 

Flag for the Kingdom of Laos
The court found that the prohibition against trademarking national flags is not limited to currently existing countries. But the court also found that the plaintiff's trademark is arguably a stylized version of the "three elephants flag." The court found that "three elephants" is a common symbol, and a country's adoption of a common symbol on a flag does not necessarily render it unavailable for trademark.


We are back, readers! And we kick off with a case that genuinely advances the ball in trademark law. (And our first case involving Laos.) As U.S. courts are just getting acquainted with foreign symbols like the three elephants, there is ample room for this area of the law to grow.

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