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Trade name conflicts


On April 28th 1923, under the number 6449 and on behalf of Juan Inurrieta as manager of "Columbia Graphophone Company, SAE", the trade name "Columbia Graphophone Company, SAE" was requested, but it was denied on December 18th 1923 by the Registry of Industrial Property. The alleged reasons were that some of the words of the name were already registered as a trademark. Although an appeal was submitted, it was rejected on April 2nd 1924.

The request was submitted on August 20th 1931 for the second time and on September 1st of that year it was published in the Bulletin of Industrial Property under the no. 12912. Given these facts, the “Compañía del Grafófono Columbia, S.A.E.” in Barcelona sent a notice of opposition to this concession, dated on October 29th 1931.

The arguments made in this notice of opposition are: the brand name is written in a foreign language having the expression of Spanish Corporation (S.A.E.), which is against the law, and it is also used the name "Columbia", which belongs to them. Both brands registered in their own name (among them the graphic of the two semiquaver notes and the Columbia slogan since August 1914) and the trade name dating from July 8th 1924 are described in detail in the document submitted. They also argued that the concession could lead to confusion due to the similarity to the trade name (n º 6811) and the brand (no. 52233).

After this document, the proceeding of the trade name no. 12,912 was canceled. On November 18th 1931 the "Columbia Graphophone Company" in San Sebastian submited a notice of opposition. Among their arguments they claimed that they had the dealership of the English company "Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd." in London and as "affiliate" (and here's the trap), it could not be called differently. They also showed the deed of the Company’s foundation, which validated it as Spanish corporation (SAE). Moreover, in their opinion, there was not any similarity between the two denominations that could be misleading. On the other hand, they thought that the notice of opposition from the company in Barcelona should have never been accepted, since, legally, the trademark was protected in all the countries of the Union without registration and that the "Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd" in London, which was a subsidiary of its namesake in America, existed before the registration of the number 6811 by the company in Barcelona, and in addition, the English society was registered in the Patent Office in London on October 8th 1920 and on May 8th 1913 in the U.S., having started using the rights to Spain by the assignor company on May 7th 1900. Regarding the use of the word "Columbia", they warned that it was a geographical name, and in the case of the company in Barcelona it was a false expression of origin against law, but not in the case of the society in San Sebastian, as it was where the parent company had its head office.

Compañía del Grafófono "Columbia" SAE (1924)

The Company in San Sebastian also justified the rejection of the use of the trade name no. 6449 in 1923, since, they admited, it was made at a time when the applicant, Juan Inurrieta, could not act as a manager on behalf of the company "Columbia Graphophone Company SAE" because he did it on April 30th and the company was not set up legally until August 30th.

These arguments convinced the judge, who, on December 9th 1931, ruled in favor of the "Columbia Graphophone Company" in San Sebastian, obtaining on the same day the certificate of registration no. 12912.

This authorization of the trade name registration was published in the Bulletin of Industrial Property on January 4th 1932. But in the next month, on February 26th, the Company in Barcelona brought an appeal with absolutely convincing arguments. First, they denied that the company "Columbia Graphophone Company, SAE" in San Sebastian was an English company, not even a subsidiary of it, since in the founding document on August 30th 1923 it was shown that it took place between Messrs. Iñurrieta, Vega de Seoane, and Reparaz, three Spanish people, without intervention of the company in London. The contract with the company in London, which was provided by Mr. Iñurrieta, was an exclusive contract but not an evidence of subsidiary nature. They added that the contract was private and made between the London Company and the "Sociedad Hispano Americana, Inurrieta and Co." in San Sebastian, and so Mr. Iñurrieta could not have provided it to the company without transmission in his favor by the owner, the Hispanic American Society, previously.

All the arguments claimed by the “Compañía del Grafófono Columbia, S.A.E.” in Barcelona were accepted, and on March 19th 1932 the judge ruled in its favor. In the judgment, in regards to the contract provided by Iñurrieta, it was said that "the Hispanic American Society, Inurrieta and Cia was not authorized, much less Mr. Inurrieta, to register in Spain any mark or trade name belonged to the English society "Columbia Graphophone Company", but only to use it during the contract, keeping the owner of "Columbia Graphophone Company" the property of these marks (clause 31 of the contract)" and that  "as soon as this is finished or cancelled the agent will immediately change the name and cease using any of the words attached to it. "




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