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3 April 2009

Asters is Legal Counsel in a Case on the Violation of Unfair Competition Legislation

Asters successfully represented "Nissan Motor Co., Ltd." (Japan) and its affiliate Ukrainian distributor LLC "Nissan Motor Ukraine" in a case to enjoin violation of Ukrainian laws on protection against unfair competition. "Nissan Motor Co., Ltd." petitioned the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) due to a series of unfair competition practices on the part of LLC "Infinity Center Ukraine" (Kiev, Ukraine), which wrongfully used the designation INFINITI in selling cars and offering services in the maintenance and repair.

In reviewing the case, the AMCU established that it was unlawful for LLC "Infinity Center Ukraine" to use the designation INFINITI as the firm (commercial) name of the enterprise, as well as in its business activity, without the requisite permission, namely in advertising the sale of automobiles, and the maintenance and repair of such automobiles. In order to stop the infringement and prevent unlawful capitalization on the Nissan group business reputation in the future, as well as to avoid the confusion with the activity of "Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.", the AMCU compelled "Infinity Center Ukraine" to cease using the designation INFINITI as mentioned above and imposed on LLC "Infinity Center Ukraine" a fine in the amount of UAH 500,000.

Review of the case was quite complex and prolonged. However, the decision adopted is precedent in the Ukrainian automobile market and demonstrates that trademark owners have the opportunity to effectively protect their legal rights against unfair competition and to take effective countermeasures against infringements. The firm’s partner Oleksandr Padalka and attorney Borys Snizhko handled the case and participated in AMCU hearings in the matter.

Alexey Statsenko, Director for Legal & External Affairs of Nissan in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, was quoted as saying: "Our company has been cooperating with Asters for quite some time now with respect to various legal matters. Once again, the lawyers of Asters demonstrated a high level of professionalism and promptness in their work. The decision adopted by the AMCU on the protection of Nissan’s intellectual property rights and business reputation not only enables the company to avert financial losses, but also proves that it is possible to combat unfair competition in Ukraine, and what is more important – by lawful and legally founded means".

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