Sándor Vida January 30 2023 Trademark licensing case demonstrates importance of defining conditions in writing Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC | Intellectual Property - Hungary Sándor Vida Intellectual Property FactsMetropolitan TribunalMetropolitan Court of AppealCommentIn licence agreements, all important conditions must be defined in writing, including any amendments. This is especially relevant when defining the conditions of termination of the agreement, as demonstrated by the case discussed in this article.FactsThe plaintiff was the owner of a word mark and a device mark comprising the term "Radio 1" as the dominant component and a trademark for the slogan "Rádió 1 Csak igazi mai sláger megy" ("only broadcasting current hits") in class 35 (advertising), class 38 (telecoms) and class 41 (entertainment).The defendant used the sign "R1 Start" for radio services. The plaintiff granted a licence to the defendant but revoked it two-and-a-half months later. However, the defendant continued to use the marks.Metropolitan TribunalThe Metropolitan Tribunal held that the defendant had committed trademark infringement. It held that the alleged permission for the continued use of the trademarks had not been communicated in a written form in conformity with sections 207(2) and 218(2)(3) of the Civil Code. Therefore, it was of no legal consequence, so the defendant's actions constituted infringement. The defendant filed an appeal with the Metropolitan Court of Appeal.Metropolitan Court of AppealThe Court rejected the defendant's appeal, holding that the tribunal's decision was correct.(1)The Court had to decide whether the notice of termination was valid. The defendant alleged that he had been licensed to use the trademarks for as long as he had the right to use the frequency, even though this had not been included in the written licence agreement.According to point 3 of the licence agreement, all declarations relating to its content had to be made in writing. As a result, the parties could not have modified the agreement orally. This was not possible under section 218 of the Civil Code 1959, notwithstanding that the term "validity" was not used in the agreement.Consequently, the defendant was not entitled to use the mark after the plaintiff issued the notice. Therefore, the Tribunal had been right in characterising the defendant's actions as infringement.CommentThe question to be answered in this case was whether the notice of termination of a possible oral declaration resulted in the ending of the agreement.Both instances decided in conformity with the written agreement concluded by the parties, which was in keeping with the provisions of the Civil Code. Only a written notice could be taken into account, not a possible oral declaration – consequently, the notice of termination led to the end of the licence agreement.As a logical consequence of the termination of the licence agreement, the defendant's actions in continuing to use the plaintiff's mark constituted infringement. It seems that the defendant, after having received the judgment of the Metropolitan Court of Appeal, understood the situation – he did not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.For further information on this topic please contact Alexander Vida at Danubia Patent & Law Office LLC by telephone (+36 1 411 8700) or email ([email protected]). The Danubia Patent & Law Office LLC website can be accessed at www.danubia.hu.Endnotes(1) Pf 20 984/2018.