Polish Court Dismisses Vegeta Suit Against Hungarian Spice Producer

May 24 2010 - 12:24

The Warsaw Court of Appeal has recently dismissed Croatian Podravka and its Polish subsidiary Podravka Polska’s unfair competition suit against the Hungarian company Marina Maziarny producing the equivalent of Podravka’s well-known spice Vegeta. The suit was dismissed because of Podravka’s failure to bring a timely infringement action in order to enforce its trade dress rights.

As the Polish IP news portal, Rychlicki.net, reported on May 11, 2010, Podravka claimed that the Hungarian producer used images on its spice packaging confusingly similar to those used by Podravka Polska’s spice, Węgierska Virgin Przyprawka, for almost 20 years, namely the cook and vegetables on a blue background.

The defendant claimed that this type of package design is used by many spice producers and therefore is not distinctive in any way. The defendant also claimed that under the Polish unfair competition law, the statute of limitations for unfair competition claims is three years, arguing that Podravka Polska became aware of the infringement in 2003 but did not file a lawsuit until 2008.

The Court dismissed the case but underlined that its decision applies only to Podravka Polska as it could not be proven that Croatian Podravka had also been aware of the alleged infringement as early as 2003. The Court therefore decided that this aspect of the case should undergo a more thorough investigation.

For more information, please contact Jelena Jankovic at our Balkan Regional Office.

Source: rychlicki.net

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