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Latvian court admits total invalidation of Grigorius Holdings' trademarks 'Parasite EVE' and 'Parasite' based on bad faith; applicant related to "trademark troll" Michael Gleissner

In 2019 the Japanese company Kabushiki Kaisha Square Enix (the Plaintiff) brought an action against the Latvian company Grigorius Holdings, SIA (the Defendant) on invalidation of national trademark registrations ‘Parasite EVE’ (reg. No. M 72 692) in classes 9, 16, 28 and ‘parasite’ (reg. No. M 72 693) in classes 9, 25, 42. As proved by many researches, Grigorius Holdings, SIA is linked to the notorious “trademark troll” Michael Gleissner, who has been involved in numerous litigations all over the world. More than a thousand trademark registrations have been filed in Latvia in the name of companies Grigorius Holdings, SIA and Fashion One Television, SIA, which show clear ties with Michael Gleissner.  Many of these trademarks have caused allegations of applicant’s bad faith and malicious intents (currently there have been more than 89 trademark disputes in Latvia).

The action was brought before the Vidzeme District Court and based on the Latvian Law On Trade Marks and Indications of Geographical Origin Article 6 (2), Article 31 (1, 3, 4) claiming bad faith of the applicant. The Plaintiff Kabushiki Kaisha Square Enix was represented before the court by trademark and design attorney, lawyer Gatis Meržvinskis.

Kabushiki Kaisha Square Enix owns an earlier European Union trademark registration “Parasite EVE” No. 001402924 in classes 9, 16, 28. In fact, Parasite Eve is a 1998 action role-playing survival horror video game, which is a sequel to the novel Parasite Eve. Parasite Eve was SquareSoft’s first M-rated game, and the first major American and Japanese game development collaboration for the company.

The court in its ruling acknowledged that foreign research articles, evidence on numerous shell companies related to Michael Gleissner and trademark disputes worldwide, as well as lack of applicant’s intent to use the marks lead to recognition of bad faith at the time of filing both trademark applications.

More importantly, despite dissimilarly of goods and services at issue, the court supports the Plaintiff’s claim that presence of bad faith may only lead to total invalidation of the trademark registrations. Mostly because it constitutes a departure from accepted principles of ethical behaviour or honest commercial and business practices.

Furthermore, the court recognizes all Plaintiff’s arguments on the applicant’s involvement in a global scheme with the aim to abuse and take advantage of trademark law and its procedures.

A major role in this case also played the fact that Michael Gleissner by using another shell company Trademarkers Merkenbuerau C.V. had filed a cancellation action against the Plaintiff’s mark before the EUIPO.

The Defendant did not appoint a representative in this matter, neither filed any written observations nor attended the court hearings.

 

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