Imitation of "Nova Brasilia" Coffee Brand Led to a Fine of 2.57 Million in Bulgaria
The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) imposed a fine of 2.57 million BGN to the Bulgarian company "Balkam Group" OOD upon complaint by Jacobs Dow Eggberts Ltd. EOOD. A penalty of BGN 40 000 was imposed on his trading partner Agro Foods Buglia EOOD. The reason lies in the imitation of the coffee product "Nova Brasilia", the market leader in Bulgaria from 2012 to 2017 in the minced coffee segment. Decisions may be appealed before the Administrative Court in Sofia.
Jacobs Dow Eggberts BG was established in 2015 and is the successor of Mondelise in terms of coffee business. The very brand of coffee "Nova Brasilia" has been sold on the Bulgarian market since 1991 with unchanged appearance. According to a Nielsen survey, Nielsen is number one in the minced coffee segment with over 50% market share.
"Agro Foods Bulgaria" was founded at the end of 2015. Due to lack of production capacity, the company concluded a contract with Balkam Group for "Brazil Selection" coffee maker at the end of 2017. The decision about the appearance of the packaging is for the manager of "Agro Foods Bulgaria" Vesselin Mehandzhiyski and according to the contract between the two companies "Balkam" is not responsible for it. However, the CPC does not accept this claim and considers that the clause does not release the company from liability, indicating that the Commission and the Supreme Administrative Court already have such a practice.
Agro Foods Bulgaria claims that the design of the package, as seen in the picture above, is not an imitation. The Commission sees the infringement as "serious" and imposes a 6% fine on the turnover of the two companies. However, as Agro Foods Bulgaria does not provide the Authority with its report, a basic sanction of BGN 40,000 is imposed on it.
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