Food supplement maker fined for copying competitor's packaging


Bulgaria’s Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) has imposed a fine of €44,000 (approximately $55,260) on Bulgarian food supplement maker Naturpharma Bulgaria for copying a competitor’s packaging.

Walmark, which is based in the Czech Republic, initiated proceedings against Naturpharma, claiming that the latter had designed the packaging for its Arthroguard food supplement (which aims to reduce the joint pain associated with arthritis) so as to copy Walmark’s Arthrostop. The Arthrostop product appeared on the Bulgarian market eight years ago, four years before Arthroguard.

The CPC ruled in favour of Walmark, noting that the similarities between the Arthrostop and Arthroguard packaging were sufficient to mislead consumers - especially because the supplements target a specific age group which is less able to differentiate between similar packaging designs. The CPC ordered that the Bulgarian manufacturer immediately stop using the confusingly similar packaging.

The decision was issued on the grounds of Article 35, Paragraph 1 of the Law on the Protection of Competition. This provision prohibits the offering of goods or services whose appearance, packaging, marking, name or other features deceive or may lead to deception with respect to their origin, manufacturer, seller, method and place of manufacture, the source and manner of their acquisition or purpose, their quantity, quality, nature, properties and other significant characteristics.

Valeri Penev, PETOŠEVIC, Sofia

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