Metropolitan Appeal Court sees through bad-faith registration

Hungary

In Skandinav Company v Haga Optik AB (8Pkf21366/2003/4), the Metropolitan Appeal Court has upheld a lower court decision to cancel the mark HAGA. The court found that Skandinav Company had registered the mark in bad faith as it was a distributor of Haga Optik AB's optical products.

Skandinav obtained a registration for the figurative trademark HAGA for optical products in 1995. Haga Optik, a Swedish company that owns a trademark registration for HAGA OPTIK AB, filed a request in 1997 for the cancellation of Skandinav's HAGA trademark. Haga Optik claimed that Skandinav had been the distributor of Haga Optik's products since 1992 and had not been authorized to apply for the trademark registration.

The Hungarian Patent Office (HPO) retroactively cancelled the trademark on the basis of Sections 3(1)(c), 5(2)(a) and 6 of the Trademark Act of 1997. It argued that as Skandinav was a distributor of Haga Optik's products, Skandinav could be regarded as Haga Optik's representative agent, who was not entitled to apply for the registration of the mark without Haga Optik's consent. Accordingly, Skandinav's application had been made in bad faith. The Metropolitan Court refused Skandinav's request for reconsideration and Skandinav appealed to the Metropolitan Appeal Court.

The Metropolitan Appeal Court upheld the HPO decision. It established that Skandinav had acted in bad faith when it filed the trademark application for HAGA as it knew that Haga Optik owned the rights in the HAGA OPTIK AB trademark. Section 3(1)(c) of the Trademark Act provides that bad faith is an absolute ground for refusing a trademark application. Any party, even without a business relationship with the registrant, may apply for the cancellation of a mark registered in bad faith.

Éva Szigeti, Danubia, Budapest

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