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The District Court puts an end to the dispute on BRŪŽA trademark
December 30, 2016
The Collegium of Civil Cases of the Regional Court of Riga by the judgment of 21 October 2016 has settled the dispute that arises in the beginning of year 2015 on registration and use of the trademarks BRŪŽA and BRŪŽA LEĢENDA between two biggest Latvian competing breweries, JSC Aldaris and JSC Cēsu Alus (about the decision of the court of first instance we have been reported earlier here).
To remeber, in February 2015 the company Cēsu Alus filed a lawsuit against Aldaris for invalidation of a trade mark registration BRŪŽA LEĢENDA (reg. No. M 68 498) and trademark infringement by unlawful use of the earlier trademark BRŪŽA (reg. No. M 68 403). In fact, the claimant considered that those two marks are confusingly similar and there is a likelihood of confusion, noting that Cēsu Alus as the owner of the earlier trademark and in view of it’s considerable financial and marketing investments in creation of BRŪŽA brand is the sole company entitled to use the designation BRŪŽA and, therefore, believing that Aldaris is knowingly and intentionally acted in bad faith.
In defence, Aldaris filed a counterclaim against Cēsu Alus for invalidation of the registration of the trademark BRŪŽA (reg. No. M 68 403), considering that this sign lacks distinctive character being a clearly descriptive and widely used term of general nature (the term “brūža” means a „brewery” in old-fashioned Latvian language), and, therefore, was registered as a trademark contrary to the rules set by the Law on Trademarks. In addition, Aldaris held that acquiring of exclusive rights to the widely used sign BRŪŽA would give unfair advantage and thus showing exactly Cēsu Alus has applied for his trademark in bad faith.
Riga City Vidzeme District Court by the judgment of 10 December 2015 has decided to reject in full the claim filed by Cēsu Alus and to satisfy the counterclaim filed by Aldaris. The Court has held that the trademark BRŪŽA should be is invalidated and did not found trademark infringement. Cēsu Alus filed the appeal. Nevertheless, after the examination of the appeal the Regional Court of Riga agreed in full with the view of the court of first instance founding the evaluation of facts and law given by the court in its judgement to be correct and well-grounded, but the arguments of the appellant to be non-significant and without capacity to overrule the judgement, deciding to reject the appeal filed by Cēsu Alus and remaining in force the decision in favour of Aldaris.
Taking into consideration that no one has filed a cassation complaint to the Supreme Court within the prescribed deadline, the decision of the Regional Court of Riga came into force and the Patent Office has made the appropriate entry in the state register of trademarks. Aldaris was successfully represented in this dispute by Mr. Bronislavs Baltrumovics, Trademark Attorney & Senior Lawyer of Agency TRIA ROBIT.