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When trade marks and company names clash: a new experience for Argentina

The Inspección de Personas Jurídicas, the authority in charge of approving the incorporation of legal entities in Argentina, was asked by Farmacia Ahorro SA,  to approve the incorporation of a sociedad anónima under its name.  Energia y Vida de Argentina SA, the proprietor of the trade mark FARMACIA DEL DR AHORRO, filed a request for this application to be rejected., relying on Article 59 of Resolution (6) IGJ (7/05), under which a company name may be rejected where it is "objectively known" by the Inspección de Personas Jurídicas to be a notorious mark.

Energia y Vida's request was initially rejected and that decision was upheld on appeal. The Inspección however considered that, as the name Farmacia Ahorro SA had already been approved by the time Energia y Vida filed its request, the matter could be decided only by the courts. An appeal has since been lodged and is currently pending.

According to Jorge Otamendi (G. Breuer) this is the first time that the Inspección has dealt with a conflict between a name and a mark. He concludes that it's not clear what lessons can be drawn from its decision though: evidence showing the notoriety of a mark filed before the company name has been approved will be considered by the Inspección, but the fact that the notoriety of the mark must be "objectively known" by the Inspección suggests that such notoriety must be of public knowledge.

Source: Farmacia Ahorro SA, Expediente de Estatuto 1.781.136 del registro de la IGJ, discussed in "Rejection of company name based on famous mark will be exceptional" by Jorge Otamendi (G Breuer, Buenos Aires, Argentina), World Trademark Review, 14 November 2011

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