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The Pensonic Group (MYX: 9997) founded by Dato Chew Weng Khak (Chinese: 周荣吉), started business as a small shop in Penang selling electrical appliances trading under the name of Keat Radio Co. in 1965 as a sole proprietor. In 1982, Chew started the Pensonic brand name to produce locally manufactured electrical appliances in order to ensure long term growth of his company, and the brand name “Pensonic” was invented by combining “Pen” and “sonic” to mean “Sound of Penang”. It turns out that Pensonic has developed and grown into one of the most successful Malaysian brands in household appliances. It was the first Malaysian brand to have received the Brand Promotion Grant from MITI of Malaysian in 2005 and it has also received a numbers of excellence design awards.
However, there is a dispute between Pensonic brand and Panasonic brand whereby the latter feels that the brand name of Pensonic is too similar to Panasonic and may have capitalized on the market share of Panasonic. The dispute was eventually brought to the courts of law in several countries.
In Singapore, Panasonic had won an injunction in Singapore in November 2008 against Pensonic after it has been operating for over 20 years. The Pensonic name is considered by Panasonic as one of many knockoff names of Panasonic of Japan.
In Sri Lanka, Pensonic has squashed the opposition of Panasonic for its trade mark registration in January 2009. The judgment observed that Pensonic was registered in Malaysia in 1984 and the same was registered in Japan (the home country of Panasonic) and many countries in the world without the objection of Panasonic. This means that in these countries the two brands in fact historically co-exist.
- Judgment by D. M. Karunaratna, Director of Intellectual Properties on Application no. 99105