In May 2014 Croatian food company Podravka, who historically have a great reputation in the Czech Republic for their spicy products, won a legal battle concerning unfair competition and violation of its trade mark rights in the Czech Republic. Podravka, operating in the Czech Republic through the company Podravka – Lagris a.s., is a leader in the Czech spice market with a market share of about 46% in 2013. Podravka's products are known for its typical packing design in a light blue colour with a picture of an old cook with a moustache.
The High Court in Prague held that the Polish product named Kucharek produced by the eponymous company and distributed to the Czech Republic by the Czech company Pěkný-Unimex (belonging to the Polish Prymat Group) had imitated the packing design of Podravka's spice mixtures. The High Court in Prague issued a decision preventing Pěkný-Unimex from distributing food added substances to the Czech market in packing that can easily be mistaken for Podravka's products. The Court also ordered Pěkný-Unimex to remove all products that violate Podravka's trade mark from the Czech market within 30 days.
Podravka's typical packing design (left); Kucharek's packing design prior to the Court's decision (centre); Changes made to Kucharek's packing design following the Court's decision (right)
The Court's decision is already in force, however, the company Pěkný-Unimex has publicly stated it disagrees with the Court's decision. Pěkný-Unimex insists that its products have never been confused for Podravka's products and has stated that it is considering an extraordinary appeal to the Supreme Court. Since the court's decision however, Pěkný-Unimex has changed its packaging design. However, this has not fully satisfied Podravka who considers the changes (for example, the cook has no longer the moustache, looks younger and the vegetables on the packing are positioned a bit differently than on the previous packing) to be insignificant. It will be interesting to see whether Pěkný-Unimex will appeal to the Supreme Court and if Podravka decides to continue its battle against Pěkný-Unimex in light of the changes to the Kucharek packaging design.