Bulgarian Food Supplement Maker Fined for Unfair Competition

Jun 26 2012 - 15:17

Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) has recently imposed a fine of EUR 44,000 (USD 55,260) on the Bulgarian food supplement maker Naturpharma Bulgaria for copying its competitor’s packaging.

Walmark, based in the Czech Republic, initiated the proceedings, claiming that Naturpharma Bulgaria designed the packaging for its food supplements intended to reduce joint pain associated with arthritis, under the brand name Arthroguard, as a copy of Walmark’s Arthrostop, which emerged on the Bulgarian market eight years ago, four years earlier than Arthroguard.

The CPC ruled in favor of Walmark, noting that the similarities were sufficient to mislead consumers, especially since a specific age group uses the supplements, which is less able to differentiate between similar package designs. The CPC ordered that the Bulgarian manufacturer immediately stop using the confusingly similar packaging.

The decision was issued on the grounds of Article 35, Paragraph 1 of the Law on Protection of Competition. This provision prohibits the offering of goods or services whose appearance, packaging, marking, name or other features deceive or may lead to deception with respect to their origin, manufacturer, seller, method and place of manufacture, the source and manner of acquisition or purpose, the quantity, quality, nature, consumer properties and other substantial characteristics of the goods or services.

By: Valeri Penev

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

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