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A world leading French industry of distilled beverages and wines, owner of a famous brand of Swedish vodka, had its registered trademark imitated to identify parties held in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The use of such celebrated beverage trademark (such as the Swedish brand) to distinguish parties or events was clearly an attempt at parasitic exploitation. The Swedish company is constantly linked to artistic and fashion events, through vast sums of sponsorship, in order to promote itself worldwide.
What is parasitic exploitation?
It is a practice or behavior or a set of both aimed at broadening commercialization without added investments by exploiting other’s achievements and reputation. It is not necessarily linked to unauthorized reproduction or unauthorized use of protected assets under Intellectual Property Law. These protected assets include marks or company brands, as well as the use of elements which require investments by a parasitic company like marketing techniques and trade secrets.
Why is this case important?
After examining the case, the acting judge understood that - although the Swedish Company and the “Event Promoter Company” carried out different commercial activities - the consumer public was the same. Most of the Swedish company's drinks are consumed in nightclubs, discos, events, parties, etc.
Furthermore, the judge considered that the event promoter company’s trademark (the one promoting the event) made use of the same graphic format as the Swedish company, evidencing the parasitic exploitation.