Argentine courts implement TRIPs-approved temporary injunctions


Two recent cases indicate that the provisional measures provision (ie, Article 50) of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) is being applied by the Argentine courts in a variety of situations.

TRIPs was approved by the Argentine government in 1995. Until that time, temporary injunctions were only permitted in cases involving the alleged infringement of registered trademarks.

Last month, the court hearing the case of Société Anonyme L'Oréal v Argencos (Case 12.266/02) granted a temporary injunction against the owner of the registered mark L' EAU VIVE, in favour of the unregistered mark ELVIVE. French company L'Oréal, which uses the unregistered mark for shampoo and conditioner, brought trademark infringement proceedings against Argentine company Argencos. L'Oréal argued (i) that Argencos was using a typeface for its L' EAU VIVE mark which was identical to L'Oréal's famous ELVIVE mark, and (ii) that the colours and packaging of Argencos' products were the same as L'Oréal's. The judge at first instance found in favour of L'Oréal, ordering Argencos to immediately stop using the same trade dress for its products.

The second case which marks a change in Argentine courts' use of temporary injunctions is American Home Products Corporation v Laboratorios Rontag (Case 4244/00). In this case the plaintiff, a US-based company, successfully prevented the defendant, an Argentine company, from using two trademarks in Argentina. American Home Products had applied to register two marks (SONATA and QUILOR) in the United States. Rontag, having seen the applications in the US Trademarks Bulletin, applied to register the same two marks in Argentina. Neither party had used the marks in Argentina. Nevertheless, the court granted American Home Products' motion for a temporary injunction preventing Rontag from using the two marks in Argentina. The court held that the defendant obviously had a bad-faith motive in registering the marks.

Jorge Otamendi, G Breuer, Buenos Aires

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