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IRVING, Texas — The Esso brand name could someday return to the United States.
A Missouri federal judge signed off on an agreement to allow Exxon Mobil Corp. to use the brand name, well known in Canada and European countries, in 15 U.S. states. These states are: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
According to legal website Law 360, an injunction preventing ExxonMobil from using the Esso name dates back to 1937 involving ExxonMobil’s predecessor, Standard Oil Co. ExxonMobil successfully argued the injunction should be lifted due to the passage of time and with many rebrandings consumers will not think Esso is in any way associated with its competitor BP plc. ExxonMobil also stated BP signed off on the plan.
Whether ExxonMobil will actually use the Esso brand in any of these states remains in question. As CSNews Online previously reported, ExxonMobil was particularly interested in lifting the injunction in an effort to avoid the expense of rebranding letterhead, invoices, packaging and marketing materials.
“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 prior to the judge’s ruling.
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.