Alleged counterfeits seized at request of famous fashion company

Hungary

The Metropolitan Court of Budapest has issued a provisional injunction ordering the seizure of alleged counterfeit goods bearing the trademarks of a famous fashion company. The injunction ensures that the alleged infringing goods are not released on to the market, even though a related criminal investigation has been dropped owing to lack of evidence.

The famous mark owner - whose name must remain anonymous for legal reasons - was made aware of the sale in Hungary of good quality but allegedly counterfeit goods bearing its registered trademarks. The situation was complicated by the fact that Hungarian manufacturers were authorized to make the fashion company's trademarked products under a licensing agreement. This made it difficult to discover the exact source of the alleged counterfeits. The trademark owner was also wary of the fact that a civil trademark infringement action would not allow it to petition for an immediate seizure order, thereby allowing the suspected counterfeiters time to hide or destroy the alleged fake products. It was therefore advised to pursue a criminal action as this would allow the Hungarian police to search the suspects' properties and seize any counterfeit goods.

The investigation did not produce any evidence of criminal activity and was dropped. The police were therefore under a duty to release the alleged counterfeit goods. The trademark owner filed a complaint against the decision to drop the investigation and simultaneously petitioned the Metropolitan Court for a provisional injunction to seize the alleged counterfeits. The court approved the petition.

The provisional injunction is immediately enforceable and allows the trademark owner time to pursue its complaint against the police or to consider whether it wishes to bring a civil action for trademark infringement.

Miklós Sóvári, Danubia, Budapest

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