Facts
Decision
Comment


Facts

The mark ORSZÁGOS TÉRINFORMATIKAI KONFERENCIA ('National Geographic Conference') was registered in Class 41. The applicant requested the cancellation of the mark, holding that he had been using the same word combination to organise conferences for nine years. To prove his allegation, he filed the cover pages of the conferences from 1991 to 1999 and the lists of names of the programme commissions.

Decision

The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) cancelled the mark. The office stated that the conferences were all organised by the owner of the mark and that, as a result, the rights belonged to the applicant. Consequently, the trademark application was contrary to Section 6 of the Act on Unfair Competition (1996). Further, the trademark application was contrary to the rule of good faith. When filing the trademark application, the owner had been aware that the rights in the mark did not belong to him.

The owner of the mark filed a request to review the decision with the Metropolitan Court. The request was rejected.

Section 4(1) of the Civil Code (1959) requires good faith. The applicant had used the trade name in question years before the identical word combination was filed as a trademark. Section 5(2)(a) of the Trademark Act provides for prior use of a mark without registration. The behaviour of the trademark owner was also contrary to the rule of fair dealing. Further, the trademark owner did not allege to have been given permission from the owner of the prior trade name (Pk 28/558/2000).

Comment

Priority is a basic institution of trademarks and can be found in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). It overwrites the registration of trademarks under conditions defined by law. HIPO and the court rendered their decisions by establishing the priority of the earlier trade name, which was better known by use.

The difference between the decisions lies in HIPO's assessment – namely, regarding the bad faith of the trademark owner. HIPO referred in this respect to the Competition Act and the general prohibition of bad faith in the Civil Code of 1959, which is also maintained by the present Civil Code.

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