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The copyright ownership of Epoch Co. Ltd. acknowledged

Created on Monday, 27 March 2017 13:13

Patentica is pleased to announce a positive litigation achievement on behalf of its Japanese-based client, a world-famous toy manufacturer Epoch against Russian toy seller and its former official distributor Gulliver, which after the breach of the distribution contract back in 2010 started to import very similar toys made oversees and sell them in Russia. On September 28, 2016 the Intellectual Property Court reversed the two earlier decisions of the court of lower instances both rejecting Epoch's allegations on copyright infringement. In particular the IP Court held that the earlier decisions were improper and sent the case for reconsideration to the court of the first instance. As the outcome of the new circle of litigation at the court of first instance Epoch and Gulliver settled the case on a mutually beneficial basis while Gulliver agreed to recognize Epoch's copyright on the disputed toys and stop the whole sales. The latest decision of the court of first instance affirming the settlement agreement was announced on February 14, 2017.

“Being able to successfully reverse the whole litigation proceedings after two decisions of the lower courts being not in a copyright holder's favour is not very common at the IP Court,” says Victor Lisovenko, a patent attorney at Patentica. “We’re grateful that the IP Court recognized Epoch's copyright on the disputed toys and made it very clear that the court of lower instances did not take all essential facts into account when rejecting the lawsuit” Alexander Timofeev, a lawyer at Patentica adds: "Epoch is a global player on the toys market for children, which puts a lot of efforts and assets in developing their innovative products. We are gratified that the company and its managers have entrusted us to defend their market position and despite receiving two negative decisions along the way did not stop to seek their legal rights protection and believe in successful outcome".

Epoch Co., Ltd. is a Japanese toy and computer games company founded in 1958 which is best known for manufacturing the Sylvanian Families series of toys. The company entered the Russian market with the Sylvanian Families toys in 2008, which have received a great popularity among Russian kids and their parents ever since. The above-mentioned copyright infringement considered in less than two years in total was initiated in 2015 to cease the import and distribution of ten families of toys such as foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs and others closely mimicking the unique design of the corresponding Sylvanian families created by Epoch's employees over the period from 1985 to 2012. Apart from resolving the dispute per se the decisions taken by the court are interesting from the legal standpoint clarifying the concepts and approaches used to consider copyright infringement cases.

All the decisions taken during the litigation are available in Russian at https://kad.arbitr.ru by the case # А40-80402/2015.

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