Court of Appeal of Bucharest issues decision in RCD case

Romania

The Court of Appeal of Bucharest has issued its decision in Sertic Vanja v SC Look Media Advertising SRL (Case 23041/3/2009).

On June 23 2009 Sertic Vanja filed two court actions against SC Look Media Advertising SRL:

  1. an action on the merits to permanently stop Look Media from using the shape of an advertising product that was allegedly identical to one of Sertic Vanja’s registered Community designs (RCDs); and
  2. an action for a temporary injunction to stop Look Media from using the shape of an advertising product that was allegedly identical to one of Sertic Vanja’s RCDs, up to the moment when a final decision would be reached on the merits.

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The action for a temporary injunction involved only Sertic Vanja and Look Media, and Sertic Vanja was successful. The High Court of Bucharest, which acted as a first-instance jurisdiction in this case, decided that the shape of the advertising product at issue was identical to one of Sertic Vanja’s RCDs and, therefore, concluded that Look Media should stop selling such product on the Romanian market. Look Media did not appeal this decision.

In the action on the merits of the case, Look Media filed a request that the court include Ambient Media World Wide Ltd (formerly Look Media Advertising Ltd) in the court procedure; such request was based on a contract in place between these two legal entities. Such contract guaranteed to Look Media that the advertising products were genuine and did not infringe the intellectual property of any third party.

Ambient Media applied to register a RCD for the design of the advertising product that Look Media was selling on the Romanian market, which, according to Ambient Media, was not identical to any of Sertic Vanja’s RCDs. Following the filing of an application with OHIM, Ambient Media obtained a registration for the design at issue. This registration was presented to the court, together with other prior rights of third parties, in order to emphasise the fact that none of Sertic Vanja’s RCDs were identical to the design of the advertising product sold by Look Media on the Romanian market.

The High Court of Bucharest decided in favour of Ambient Media and Look Media, and, therefore, rejected the action filed by Sertic Vanja on the merits of the case.

Sertic Vanja filed an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Bucharest, which was rejected by the Court of Appeal of Bucharest on February 12 2013.

This is a welcome result for Ambient Media and Look Media as, in the previous action, Sertic Vanja had obtained an interim injunction against Look Media preventing the latter from using its advertising product on the Romanian market. The court then ruled in favour of Ambient Media and Look Media on the merits of the case (an interim injunction only lasts until a final decision is reached on the merits of the case; therefore, a final decision on the merits of the case can overturn a final decision in the interim injunction proceedings). The decision of the High Court of Bucharest is also important as a precedent with respect to rights acquired after the filing of a court action.

Andra Musatescu, Andra Musatescu Law & Industrial Property Offices, Bucharest

Andra Musatescu Law & Industrial Property Offices acted for Ambient Media World Ltd in this case

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