Polish Court Rules in Favor of Croatia’s Spice Brand Vegeta in Dispute with Polish Spice Producer

Dec 21 2010 - 14:51

On October 12, 2010, the Polish Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the Polish company Japart cannot obtain protection for the brand Master Cook, thus ending the lengthy trade dress and unfair competition dispute between this company and the Croatian company Podravka, which produces the well-known spice Vegeta.

In 2005, the Polish Patent Office (PPO) granted registration for the Master Cook seasoning brand with similar packaging as Vegeta, namely a bag with the images of the cook and vegetables on a blue background. Podravka filed a trademark opposition against the registration arguing substantial similarity of Japart’s product and Vegeta, which has been present on the Polish market since 1994. On June 13, 2008, the PPO ruled that Vegeta is a reputed trademark and cancelled Master Cook’s registration.

Japart filed a complaint with the Voivodeship Administrative Court (VAC, county), which dismissed the complaint on May 22, 2009 on grounds that Master Cook would gain unfair advantage by building a brand on Vegeta’s reputation. The VAC ruled that Japart used images on its spice packaging confusingly similar to those used by a reputed mark. Japart then filed an appeal with the Polish Supreme Administrative Court, but this court also dismissed the appeal.

For more information, please contact Masa Lopicic at our Balkan Regional Office.

Source: Polish IP news portal, Rychlicki.net

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