Exxon Seeks Court Approval to Use Esso Name Again

IRVING, Texas — Exxon Mobil Corp. is asking a Missouri federal judge to change an injunction that prevents it from using the Esso trademark in the United States.

According to legal website Law 360, the injunction dates back to the Great Depression. The Irving-based oil company stated in court the passage of time and many rebrandings have ensured that consumers will not think Esso is in any way associated with its competitor BP.

ExxonMobil stressed it has no plans to expand its use of the Esso name in any of the 15 states that were included in the 1937 injunction that went into effect regarding Standard Oil Co., Exxon’s predecessor. It also states BP has approved this plan.

ExxonMobil is particularly interested in lifting the injunction in an effort to avoid the expense of rebranding letterhead, invoices, packaging and marketing materials, the news outlet stated. ExxonMobil uses the Esso brand name in Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries.

“Because the use of Esso in the 15-state area is no longer likely to cause confusion in the buying public, and thus the dangers the 1937 decree were meant to foreclose have disappeared, the continued enforcement of the decree is inequitable and oppressive,” Exxon wrote in its complaint.

Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming are the states named in the injunction.

ExxonMobil and its predecessors have sought to lift the injunction since 1963, the company stated in its court filings. However, two 1966 surveys revealed between 11 percent and 49 percent of the motoring public would be confused if the company were to start doing business as Esso in the affected area. 

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