EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION v. AEMRICAN ESSO OIL GROUP LTD

HCA 2508/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2508 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
USA AISUO LUBRICANT OIL
(CHINA) LIMITED
(美國埃索潤滑油(中國)有限公司)
Defendant

HCA 2509/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2509 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
AISUO AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLIES (CHINA) LIMITED
(埃索汽車用品(中國)有限公司)
Defendant

HCA 2510/2013

_________________

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2510 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
ISHOP INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
(埃索國際有限公司)
Defendant

_________________

HCA 2511/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2511 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
AISUO OIL GROUP (HONGKONG) LIMTIED
(埃索石油集團(香港)有限公司)
Defendant

_________________

HCA 2512/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2512 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
U.S.A AISUO (INT’L) TONGYONG PETROLEUM CHEMICAL INDUSTRY LIMITED
(美國埃索(國際)通用石油化工有限公司)
Defendant

_________________

HCA 2513/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2513 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
AEMRICAN ESSO OIL GROUP LIMITED
(美國埃索石油(集團)有限公司)
Defendant

_________________

HCA 2514/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2514 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
AMERICA MEIFU MEIKESEN PETROLEUM CHEMICAL INDUSTRY JOINT STOCK LIMITED
(美國美弗美克森石油化工股份有限公司)
Defendant

_________________

HCA 2516/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2516 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
AMERICA MEIFU INTERNATIONAL GROUP LIMITED
(美國美孚國際集團有限公司)
Defendant

_________________

HCA 2517/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2517 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
USA MEIFUK INT’L OIL GROUP (ASIA-PACIFIC) LIMITED
(美國美孚國際石油集團(亞太)有限公司)
Defendant

_________________

HCA 2519/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

ACTION NO 2519 OF 2013

_________________

BETWEEN

EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION Plaintiff
and
MEIFU(HK) TECHNOLOGY
GROUP LIMITED
(美孚(香港)科技集團有限公司)
Defendant

_________________

Before: Hon Zervos J in Chambers

Date of Hearing: 19 March 2014
Date of Judgment: 19 March 2014

_________________

J U D G M E N T

_________________

1. The problem of shadow companies is getting worse and something really needs to be done about it. Applications of this type are frequentlycoming before the courts and highlight the seriousness of the problem. In this set of proceedings, the plaintiff applies for finaljudgment against each of the defendants for failure to file an intention to defend and a defence. There in fact has been no responsewhatsoever from each of the defendants to the proceedings the plaintiff has brought against them.

2. As stated by the plaintiff, in recent years certain unscrupulous individuals, primarily from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC),have incorporated a “shadow company” in Hong Kong for the purpose of passing off or trading on the trade name or trademark ofanother person or entity. As highlighted by the plaintiff, a “shadow company” has one or more of the following features:

(a) The key part of its name is identical or confusingly similar to the reputable name or mark of another person with whom it hasno connection;

(b) Its directors and shareholders are PRC individuals;

(c) Its secretary is a Hong Kong secretarial company and usually involved in the incorporation of the shadow company;

(d) Its registered office address is the same as that of its secretary or those providing secretarial services to it; and

(e) It backs licenses or otherwise authorizes or permits its name to be used by one or more persons in the PRC, usually a businessentity set up by its director/shareholder.

3. The object of the person or persons behind the defendant company is to use the Hong Kong company registration and records in thePRC to pass off on the plaintiff’s trade name and trademark. I should add that a recent trend is to incorporate a company in HongKong with the name that is being passed off in Chinese. I have discussed the issue and problem with shadow companies in Power Dekor (Hong Kong) Ltd v Power Dekor Group Co Ltd, HCA 1139/2013, unreported, 9 January 2014 where I concluded that greater scrutiny needs to be employed in the approval and registrationprocess of companies in Hong Kong. Whilst the issue of shadow companies raises a number of concerns, the primary ones are that theregistration of a company in these circumstances is in furtherance of a crime or fraud, and the victim is forced to seek redressfrom the courts to protect its trade name or trademark.

4. Having considered the papers filed and the submissions for the plaintiff, I am satisfied in each case that service of the relevantpapers have been properly effected and that the defendant has defaulted in filing a notice of intention to defend and a defence.Accordingly, I enter judgment for the plaintiff against each of the defendants and I order the relief sought by the plaintiff inthe respective summons.

(Kevin Zervos)
Judge of the Court of First Instance
High Court

Mr KY So, of Wilkinson & Grist, for the plaintiff