Major Ruling on Counterfeiting in Slovenia

May 18 2004 - 02:14

The Appellate Court of Slovenia follows the reasoning of the European Court of Justice.

In a landmark decision relating to the largest amount of counterfeit cigarettes ever seized by the Slovenian Customs Authorities, the Appellate Court of Slovenia overturned the lower court decision and established a new interpretation of the Slovenian Industrial Property Act by following the reasoning of the European Court of Justice.

The case was brought by the trademark owner before the Slovenian Circuit Court, which ruled that no action could be brought against the Defendant because the freight forwarding agents could not be liable for the infringement of trademarks.

On appeal, the lower court decision was overturned and the Slovenian Appellate court held, by following the reasoning of the European Court of Justice, that the freight forwarding agents might in fact be responsible for the infringement of trademarks. The Appellate Court decided that all who assist in the process of placing the goods on the market can be held liable for infringing the trademark and prevented from continuing such activities.

In the same decision, the Appellate Court of Slovenia also held that a mere transit of counterfeit goods through Slovenia might constitute infringement of trademarks. This approach is based on the reasoning that if transit proves to be an essential link to placing the goods on the market, then it can be regarded as an infringement. The court concluded that it is not necessary that all actions relating to placing the goods on the market take place in one jurisdiction.

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