Court orders freezing of all of infringer’s assets

The presiding judge of the Athens Court of First Instance has granted a petition filed by Disney (Filing No 24641/2011) seeking a temporary restraining order and additional precautionary measures against a Greek company and its sole shareholder/executive manager which manufactured and traded in toys whose packaging bore imitations of registered trademarks representing Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Disney Princesses.
Having heard the parties’ oral pleadings, the judge:
  • issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the infringers from manufacturing, importing, exporting, advertising, promoting, exhibiting, offering for sale and distributing (in wholesale or retail) the counterfeit goods;
  • ordered that the counterfeit goods be withdrawn immediately from the market;
  • ordered that all counterfeit goods still in the possession of the infringers be seized and counted; and
  • most importantly, ordered that all assets of the company, including its real estate, be frozen until the hearing of the preliminary injunction action (scheduled four months later).
Even though no particular quantitative evidence on the infringing activities had been produced and no seizure had been made, the judge still held that the activities were carried out on a commercial scale, as required by Article 9 of the IP Rights Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC). Disney’s pleadings in this regard focused on the following aspects:
  • the infringers were repeat offenders;
  • the counterfeit products were traced in several locations within the Greek territory, some of which far away from the infringers’ permanent place of establishment; and
  • the infringing activities involved several of Disney’s trademarks.
This court order marks an interesting development of IP law in Greece, since it orders the freezing of all of the infringers' assets in a trademark infringement case, in accordance with the IP Enforcement Directive, within the course of temporary restraining order proceedings.
It should be stressed that the preliminary order was granted within 12 working days of the filing of the petition.
Stelios Malliaris, Dontas Law Offices, Athens

Get unlimited access to all WTR content