Refilling trademarked containers held to be illegal


In Chivilcoy Gas (Solgas) v Totalgaz Argentina SA (Case 26335), the Federal Criminal Court for the city of Mercedes, has found Chivilcoy Gas (and its directors) guilty of infringing the trademark rights of other gas companies, including Totalgaz.

Chivilcoy refilled liquid petroleum gas containers for its customers. The containers originated from various companies and carried their respective trademarks. The mark owners had not granted Chivilcoy authorization to fill their trademarked containers with its own gas. They therefore brought a joint claim for trademark infringement.

Chivilcoy argued that the containers belonged to the customers, therefore they could be refilled by any company without the authorization of the trademark owner whose mark appears on the containers.

The federal court disagreed with Chivilcoy, holding that refilling another party's trademarked containers is a violation of Section 31(b) of the Trademark Act and Articles 306, 307 and 308 of the Criminal Code.

Alberto R Berton-Moreno Jr, Sena & Berton Moreno, Buenos Aires

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