What is real
is not external form.”
We are currently dealing with a really interesting case where our client, a top company in the field of food supplements, owned by an investment fund from UK, is in the position of not being able to market products on the Bulgarian market due to a local firm which so far has not been interested in signing a coexistence agreement.
A coexistence agreement
This type of agreement describes a situation in which two different companies use a similar or identical trademark, without interfering with each other in terms of activity or territory.
So, it is common and perfectly legal for companies that operate in different industries to use identical trademarks. Take for example the case of POLO. It is used by Ralph Lauren for clothing and also by Wolkswagen for one of its car models.
When problems can arise
One situation is when the companies with identical or similar trademarks start to operate in the same industry. Then, their specific trademarks overlap.
Thus, when to different firms use similar trademarks, which may start as operating on different territories eventually, at some given time meet on the same market. This is our case too. In fact, we find ourselves in a negotiation stage in which we are pursuing to find ways in which the packaging and the presentation of the product to be different, to minimize the likelihood of confusion among consumers. By doing so we trust we can obtain the coexistence agreement from the adversary.
Possible limitations of a coexistence agreement
If the first company using that trademark on the local market grants you permission to operate on that market, it could also place some restrictions, such as specific geographic limitations.
Situations can vary. We have already expressed our opinion in other materials on how we proceed when the trademark our customer wishes to register is already in use on the market. But what happens when the customer is the one that owns the trademark that a competitor wishes to register for the marketed products? The ( learn more )
As of July 2018, we are handling a case regarding the banking industry. Our client is a private equity US firm which has completed the acquisition of a subsidiary bank from a giant group in this field. They intend to rebrand the business and step by step to reach the objective to strengthen the Eastern ( learn more )
Wide known fact: When an owner has a pending trademark application is entitled to market goods and services bearing the brand that is still to be registered. However, he can meet the situation in which the registration could not go smoothly. For instance, if conflicts are arising with earlier marks, then the brand might not ( learn more )