Infingement of Intellectual Property and Trademark Infringement

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Abstract Summary

Over 50 years ago, Bertram Company ltd started manufacturing a herbal oil recipe that was derived from the mainland China and developed into miracle herbal oil which give the people relief from several problems like muscle pain, headaches, nasal congestion and gain a huge trust from the community.as people started loving this treatment Bertram’s started to expand their business across the neighboring countries fortunate people all over the neighboring countries accepts the product. With their instant success over the huge community some fake suppliers of the products are also come up in the markets who attract the people with low prices and low qualities. In their words they are infringing the trademark.in the following couple of pages I have described about their journey and how they got affected by this trademark infringement and what are the possible ways to come out from this hazard in this businesses.

History of Bertram Chemicals

Boonchua Eiampikul and Tang Leng Yong, Two Chinese immigrants who has arrived in Thailand in early 90s. Tang Leng Yong was respected practitioner of traditional Chinese Medicine. He took Boonchua under his wing as an apprentice. Boonchua was quick study and tang was impressed by his sincere interest and devotion to traditional ways of their ancestors. After working together for a while Tang decided to share the most effective Chinese medicinal formula he knew -unique kind of herbal mixture that alleviates the dizziness and fatigue. Nowadays it is very well known product “Siang pure oil” a homeopathic herbal product that has excellent success in Thailand and now it’s widely popular in all of its neighboring countries.

At Bertram Chemical s Co., ltd their office culture is made up of the people with Bertram’s DNA, it consist of: B= Being and E= Ensuring R=Responsibility T=Teamwork R=Reliability A=Achievement M=Morality Bertram move forward by the concept “Joint responsibility strive to be unity, reinforcing the credibility, work and promote moral “that makes the organization going to the same and specific direction. Research and Development: On Tang’s teachings, Boonchua started refining the formula and ultimately transformed into oil-based product. To test its efficiency and effectiveness on people, he started making small packages of it and sell to Chinese community of Bangkok. Product brought success to the company .To expand its production, Boonchua officially using his entrepreneurial skills established a company called Chakrintr Ltd. The small family business helped Samg Pure Oil become popular throughout Thailand. As its popularity grown up to the neighboring counties.

Boonchua had three daughters, they also stepped into to help and in 1982 the company was renamed Bertram Chemical. His three daughters are currently managing the company Supeeya, is, looking after the Production department of the company. Titima, is the one who handles Finance and human resource in the company and Suwanna is Managing Director of Bertram’s Chemicals. Siang Pure Oil is made up purely of herbs without any chemical activities. Ingredients include menthol. Peppermint oil, cloves, camphor and cinnamon. Siang Pure Oil has properties similar to the smelling salts and is predominately used to relieve indigestion, cramps, bones and joints aches. Although, company was enjoying great success for over forty years, there was unexpected drop in sales in late 1990s.

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Company took a survey determine to know the reason and was very much surprised to know that it was mostly used by the elderly people who are facing the problems of joint and bone aches and many more. I an effort to expand with the portfolio even further they developed a side of exciting complimentary products to approach a wide range of the audience especially younger generation. For this sake they started making different ranges of new complementary products like inhaler, gel, balm sticks to attract the young audience and they adopt the approach of changing the design, color, scent, dress of the product to meet market requirements which refreshes their product with new styles and they take the new entry into the market. To refresh the company’s image and appeal to a younger generation, Bertram’s R&D developed a new product which had the same ingredients as Siang Pure Oil, but was reformulated. The new product, called-Formula-II.

Commercialization

Siang Pure products remain popular due to strong brand name and unique advertising techniques they have been using. As the demand of the products increased Boon Chua’s small enterprise couldn’t keep up with the big orders, so the company had to increase its commercialization capability. Most of the herbs needed for the production of the Bertram’s products, including peppermint, camphor, cloves, menthol, boreal and cinnamon these all the raw material products have to be imported from China. This is because such products are not grown in Thailand. Bertram has two factories where all the products has been developed the first in Bangkok city center and Second inn Shantou, China. Manufacturing process at both the locations complies with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) requirements of World Health Organization for quality and safety of the company’s products. In domestic market company has built up a broad distribution network of over 6,000 commercial pharmacies throughout Thailand. As the company has refocused on its branding and advertising strategy, distribution has been expanded to include a different new locations. By taking more forward steps towards the upgradations of the company they took the initiative of making distribution partnership with major supermarket stores so that they will be able to reach the new customers. After sometime company started seeking for the international supply chain. Because the popularity of the Siang Pure Oil has been spread din neighboring Asian countries too and by 2010, they started exporting their products to different countries like China, Hong Kong, Korea and many more.

Trademark

Bertram Company is facing a hurdle of Trademark Infringement because the local companies are developing products that look like Siang Pure Oil. They are creating many difficulties for the Bertram’s because they are dominating with low prices and low qualities in the market. Fake products are effecting the reputation of the company. The have put in a great effort to make brand of the company a stronger. Knowingly that IP protection in the form of he registering a trademarks is integral part to see their continue success. In September, 2004 the company applied for the service mark for “Siang Pure” name and its symbol with the Thailand Department of Intellectual Property (DIP). As the company expanded and as it faced an increasing amount of IP infringement, in June 2008 they registered in US with the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) for its “Siang Pure” name for herbal products. The trademark registration was got approved in October 2009.

Intellectual Property Infringement

Bertram’s products taken up place in Asian markets but company is not able to officially advertise or sell their products in western countries. No doubt, Bertram’s products such as Siang Pre Oil is readily available in western markets through local and web retailers but they are doing so officially. Example of trade dress IP infringement by a competitors: While selling fake products is unauthorized, but this is not the biggest problem which company faces. Many of their competitors started making alike products from the basic and traditional knowledge that their grand generations have given to them. By this mean they are using Siang Pure Oil’s name and hijacking Bertram’s fame, good name and reputation by infringing on its IP in two destructive ways: First they are illegally using Bertram’s trademarked names (such as Siang Pure Oil) for their own profits. Secondly, these competitors are selling these fake products at lower prices and lower quality.

By this it leads to the serious risk to Bertram’s reputation. Customers have typically chosen Bertram’s products because of their high range of brand loyalty. It has taken company’s considerable time and effort to develop people’s trust but unfortunately low prices and low quality products are putting that trust into garbage. Unaware about the fake products and low quality products, loyal Bertram customers may buy these fake products leads to disappointment with their low quality which ultimately stops the customer from buying the real products too. In 2007, the herbal medicine industry in Thailand had the value of approximately (US $28.6) AND Bertram’s successful use of branding and trademarks has allowed the company to take over eighty percent market share. New brand names, trade dress and marketing strategies that company implemented in 2008.

Intellectual Property Report

Having a product that is well distributed for 40 years shows a significant high value for that IP. Moreover the product is gaining regional distribution which brings a regional scope of the Trademark value and ultimately the Company reputation. Perhaps that what attracted other companies to opt for trademark infringement, thru low price policy to replicate the dress of the product with very minor changes and keeping the look as similar possible to be able to sell similar product with less quality ingredient to gain money fast. That will also affect the original product reputation especially for those who are not regular users of that product. Looking deeper into it, Bertram chemicals needs to have an inventory for the IP assets being able to manage these assets effectively and efficiently and to ensure future growth. They should make efforts to recognize all the risks involved in disturbing the company trademarks, that will negatively affect the distributing and producing its oil. It should be mandatory to ensure the benefit from maintaining

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