Supreme Administrative Court upholds unfair competition fine

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a decision of the Commission for the Protection of Competition to impose a fine on Bulgarian cosmetics manufacturer TSH Cosmetics. TSH Cosmetics produced and sold children’s shampoo that was similar to that produced by Bulgaria’s oldest cosmetics company, Alen Mak.

The commission issued the decision against THS Cosmetics in June 2010 based on Article 35, Paragraph 2 of the Law on the Protection of Competition. This provision prohibits the use of a trade name, trademark or geographical indication that is identical or similar to the trade name, trademark or geographical indication of a third party in a manner that may harm the interests of competitors.

The investigation ascertained that the defendant produced and distributed in Bulgaria and Russia a shampoo called Adventure (pictured below on the left), which resembled the trademark and overall appearance of the shampoo Pa-Pa, produced by Alen Mak (pictured below on the right). The commission ruled that the similarities between the products were sufficient to mislead consumers and undermine the distinctiveness of Alen Mak's brand.

In its final decision, the Supreme Administrative Court agreed with the commission’s arguments in their entirety and upheld the commission's decision to fine the defendant €73,220 (approximately $96,174) for the infringement.

Valeri Penev, PETOŠEVIC, Sofia 

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