by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by BERNAMA
THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) is taking legal action against a newly-founded organisation, the Malaysia Association Tour Agency (Mata), for trademark infringement.
The association has issued a letter of demand through its lawyers to Mata — which was registered in October last year, according to Mata’s Facebook page — on a basis of misrepresentation and imitation of Matta’s attributes.
“The new association (Mata), in its name, indicates that it is an association for tour agencies that welcomes membership from any individual aged 18 and above, who is involved in the tourism sector.
“In the letter of demand, Matta has cited trademark infringement, misrepresentation and the deliberate passing off of Matta’s name and goodwill by the newly-registered Mata,” Matta honorary secretary general Nigel Wong said in a statement on Saturday.
“Mat ta’s solicitors have demanded that Mata cease and desist using the infringing mark and name, and have demanded a public apology to be published in leading national newspapers, failing which, Matta will instruct its solicitors without any further delay to commence legal proceedings,” he added.
The 44-year-old Matta counts over 3,600 companies as members, comprising travel agencies and tour operators licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
It is also the national umbrella representative body for the entire domestic travel industry, which hosts the popular Matta Fair twice a year.
Meanwhile, Mata is a non-governmental organisation that currently has 1998 members, according to its Facebook page.
Matta said it has received complaints due to confusion in the marketplace over the similar-sounding names of the two organisations.
The association is also seeking an explanation from the Registrar of Society (RoS) on how the registration of Mata could have been allowed.
According to RoS records, five of the founding and current office bearers of the newly-registered Mata are also the current office bearers of Persatuan Agensi Pelancongan Umrah and Haji.
Out of the five, two are also current office bearers in the Malaysia Tourism Council, Wong said.
“On Sept 11, 2014, Matta held an EGM which voted overwhelmingly to expel all five of the aforementioned office bearers for causing moral and material damage to Matta,” he stated.