Bulgarian Air-Conditioning Producer Fined for Domain Infringement

Apr 26 2012 - 12:52

Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) has recently upheld Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) 2009 decision against a Sofia-based company for using a domain name confusingly similar to that of its competitor.

The legal proceedings were initiated by Ataro Klima, a producer of air-conditioning and ventilation equipment from Plovdiv, a town in central Bulgaria.

Ataro Klima argued that its competitor, Sofia-based Tangra AV, had registered and used domain www.ataro-klima.com (shut down in 2009), confusingly similar to its trade name and its own domain www.ataro.bg.

The CPC issued the decision against Tangra AV on the grounds of Article 35, Paragraph 3 of the Law on Protection of Competition. This provision prohibits the use of a domain name or website design identical or similar to those of other persons, in a manner that may mislead and/or injure the interests of competitors.

The CPC imposed a fine on the defendant in the amount of EUR 199,660 (USD 263,100), or two percent of the company’s 2008 turnover. The defendant appealed in August 2009 and in 2010, the SAC confirmed the infringement, but ruled that the amount of the imposed sanction was unjustified and instructed the CPC to reduce the fine.

According to the SAC instructions, the CPC reduced the fine to 19,960 EUR (26,310 USD) or 0.2 percent of the company’s 2008 turnover, and in 2012 the SAC upheld the CPC’s decision in its entirety.

Author: Valeri Penev

For more information, please contact Valeri Penev at our Bulgaria office.

Source: Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court website

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