Bad faith stings local registrant of US mark

Hungary

In Directed Electronics Inc v Trásy (3Pk23.849/2000/10), the Metropolitan Court has ordered the cancellation of the VIPER-ULTRA-HORNET trademark after finding that it had been registered in bad faith. The registrant was the local distributor of Directed Electronics Inc (DEI), the owner of the US marks VIPER and HORNET.

DEI filed applications to register the marks VIPER and HORNET in relation to car alarm systems in Hungary. The Hungarian Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rejected both applications on the grounds that István Trásy, a Hungarian national, had already registered the mark VIPER-ULTRA-HORNET in relation to the same goods. DEI appealed and filed a cancellation action against Trásy's mark. It claimed that Trásy had registered the VIPER-ULTRA-HORNET mark in bad faith since, as a distributor of its products in Hungary, Trásy was aware of its rights in the VIPER and HORNET marks.

The PTO rejected both the appeal and cancellation action, finding that DEI had not proved that Trásy was DEI's distributor and, therefore, DEI had failed to prove bad-faith registration. DEI subsequently lodged an appeal with the Metropolitan Court.

Basing its reasoning on new evidence, the court found that DEI had proved that Trásy was its distributor and was aware of DEI's rights in the marks. Accordingly, the court concluded that Trásy had registered VIPER-ULTRA-HORNET in bad faith and ordered the cancellation of the mark.

Gabriella Sasvári, SBG & K Patent and Law Office, Budapest

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