The Esso brand is now allowed in the 15 states where it was previously banned.
BP PLC and ExxonMobil Corp. have reached an agreement to allow Exxon to use the “Esso” gas station trademark in the 15 states where the trademark was formerly banned, and a federal judge from Missouri has signed off on the agreement.
According to a report from Law360, Exxon and BP agreed to end the dispute after Exxon filed a suit seeking a modified injunction that would allow the company to use the Esso brand in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The injunction in question still bars Exxon from using “Standard Oil,” “SO” or other variations besides Esso. Exxon has stated that a number of rebrandings have eliminated the chance that consumers will associate the Esso brand with its competitor BP.
The report from Law360 also reported that Exxon, the brand successor of Standard Oil, has no plans of expanding the Esso brand in the affected states. The purpose of the agreement was to avoid rebranding costs in areas where the Esso brand is still in use. The report also states that BP had no objections with the use of the Esso brand in the affected states.
When Standard Oil of New Jersey was orders to dissolve under the Sherman Act, Esso was among several trademarks that were banned under the injunction. The injunction was requested to be lifted in 1996, but the request was previously turned down due to confusion among motorists by the reintroduction of the brand.
The brand is being reintroduced now, as not a single one of more than 400 respondents who took an Exxon survey associated the Esso mark with BP.