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August 6, 2009

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Oil firm finds use of 'Mobil' expensive

A HONG Kong-registered lubricating oil producer was yesterday ordered to pay 500,000 yuan (US$73,209) in compensation to Exxon Mobil for trademark infringement and cancel the domain names it registered.

Three members of Exxon Mobil Group filed a lawsuit to the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court in June 2007, saying that they owned the trademarks of Mobil and Meifoo.

The brand of Mobil was one of the 100 global top brands and had a good reputation in China, they said.

Exxon Mobil found that in 2005 a lubricating oil product with the brand of Boil appeared on the domestic market.

The oil claimed to be made by Xi'an Yanqing Technology Development Co under authorization of American Mobil International Petroleum Group.

In fact, the name American Mobil was registered by a Chinese in Hong Kong. It and the Xi'an company were owned by the same boss.

The two defendants highlighted the Chinese characters of Mobil in the packaging.

American Mobil registered a general network address so that if the user put the Chinese characters of American Mobil as key words into the address field it would connect to its Website.

The Xi'an company also registered two domain names of American Mobil, the court heard.

The plaintiffs said the defendants' behavior would easily confuse consumers and make them think the groups were related to Exxon Mobil.

The court believed the defendants clearly wanted to cash in on Exxon Mobil's good reputation by highlighting the Chinese characters of Mobil in the packaging and promotional material.


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