What the rest of the world can learn from Latvia’s dealings with serial filer Michael Gleissner
Recently the World Trademark Review (WTR) in cooperation with PĒTERSONA PATENTS – AAA LAW trademark attorney Gunta Zariņa published two articles, which explain the shifting brand protection environment in Latvia due to Michael Gleissner’s filing activity. In many publications over the years Gleissner has been named as a trademark troll (trademark squatter) and his trademarks in Latvia are owned by two entities – Grigorius Holdings, SIA and Fashion One Television, SIA.
The Articles elaborate how many Latvian trademark attorneys have been dealing with Gleissner-related trademark filings in Latvia since 2014. Back then we started warning our clients of a possible trademark squatter, who was overring prior rights and evoking legal proceedings with the aim of acquiring the trademarks and domain names.
In hundreds of opposition cases and a few litigation cases initiated in Latvia against Gleissner’s marks, the common trend is the element of bad faith, which departs from the accepted principles of ethical behaviour and honest commercial and business practices.
The WTR reports that in nearly all opposition cases, especially when the case law surrounding Gleissner’s activities was still developing – the Latvian Board of Appeal’s decisions of bad faith were attributed only to the overlapping of some goods and services. However, in all appeal cases before the court, as far as we know, Gleissner’s bad faith and malicious intents were found to apply the disputed trademark as a whole.
In these articles the WTR highlights our advice for right holders, who wish to deal with Gleissner’s malicious trademark filings in Latvia:
In the case of reputed marks, if a conflicting mark is detected at the early stages of application, the legitimate rights holder should file an official request (third-party observations) to the Latvian Patent Office to invalidate the mark based on the well-known status of its earlier mark. (…) Further, as there is now a considerable amount of case law and evidence available related to bad faith on the part of Gleissner companies, we recommend seeking invalidation of the disputed mark in full. In fact, we strongly recommend challenging any conflicting Gleissner mark either through invalidation or cancellation proceedings due to non-use.
Overall, Gleissner’s activities have been a major concern to many trademark owners, even more so because of his ambiguous intentions. To prevent attempts of appropriation, extortion and initiation of domain disputes or cancellation proceedings based on his alleged prior rights,
Gleissner’s conflicting rights should be eliminated as soon as possible by any means available.
All of Grigorius Holding’s marks are currently under prohibition of alienation with an auction planned for the future – there is also a risk that some major trademarks could be purchased by unrelated third parties. The full list of the 903 trademarks available for auction can be accessed in this searchable document created by the WTR.
As mentioned in our previous article (https://petpat.lv/en_lv/news/gleissner-trademark-auction-in-latvia-goes-ahead-brand-owners-asked-to-express-any-interest-in-bidding-within-30-days/), by the middle of April we invite any brand owner that wants to express interest in purchasing any of the marks to contact us Pētersona patents – AAA law by e-mail email@example.com and note the specific trademarks of interest. That information will then be compiled over the next 30 days and given to the bailiff prior to the online auction.