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CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI

A conflict on the East-European market in terms of coexistence

16.01.2019


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.

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