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Spain - Trade Mark Law and Greek Mythology.

The Spanish economic newspapers Cinco Dias, El Economista and Finanzas report the end of the 18 year long litigation between Nike and the Spanish company Cidesport (a.k.a. Grupo Rosal), Nike´s former distributor in Spain from 1980 to 1990.

In year 1982 Cidesport purchased from a third party the Spanish trade mark no. 88,222 (registered in 1932 in class 25) for the word NIKE plus a device inspired in the famous sculpture of the Greek mythology goddess Nike (¨Victory”) of Samothrace, exhibited in The Louvre Museum (Paris).

On the left, the headless yet very beautiful sculputure

of the goddess Nike of Samothrace. If she only knew ...

On the right, Cidesport´s 1932 registration including the word "NIKE" .

After the termination of the distributorship relation, Cidesport started branding its own line of garments under the NIKE trade mark and sued Nike for (i) compensation for clientele (it alleged the unjust termination of the distributorship relation), (ii) trade mark infringement of its 1932 registration and (iii) cancellation of Nike´s junior trade marks in Spain. Nike counterclaimed the cancellation of Cidesport´s registration that brought a claim for unfair competition practices against Cidesport.

After almost 20 years of fierce litigation causing partial victories and defeats to both parties, in 2005 Nike succeeded in having Cidesport´s 1932 trade mark cancelled on the grounds of non-use - the Spanish Supreme Court found that the actual trade mark Cidesport was using (that omitted the device depicting the goodness) and was ¨distortion and an artful trick” to predate Nike´s goodwill in the Spanish market.

This last judgment triggered the consequence that the parties have recently reached a settlement compromise that terminates a total of 50 ancillary civil, criminal and contentious-administrative proceedings directly deriving of the main litigation on Cidesport’s 1932 registration. Reportedly, the settlement´s post-closing steps have caused the execution of a total of 30 different public deeds.

As a consequence of the settlement, Cidesport will refrain of using the brand NIKE, and Nike would consolidate its trade mark rights for identifying garments in Spain (something that Cidesport´s 1932 registration troubled for some time). According to the media, the settlement does not include any kind of economic arrangement.

Posted by: Ignacio Marques @ 05.10
Tags: Denmark. trade mark infringement, distributorship, settlement., Spain,
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