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Currency One appeals judgement in Cinkciarz AdWords case

Source: Currency One

The court case pending since October 2013 in relation to allegations against Currency One SA brought by Cinkciarz.pl has ended with a non-final judgment given by the District Court in Poznań.

It awards damages and obliges Currency One to make statements. Currency One announces an appeal.

The allegations referred to in the judgment concerned the keywords that caused Currency One's website adverts to appear in the Google browser. Those keywords referred to a Polish word that was also part of the competitor's name.

- The possibility of influencing the display of ads in this way remains disputable. It can be said that so far there has not been a final ruling in Poland concerning contextual advertising in the Google Ads system that would give a clear signal to the industry. Similarly, in the course of this process (mainly in the years 2018-2019), the question of the descriptive meaning of the word “cinkciarz” was adjudicated incidentally - emphasises attorney Przemysław Szmidt, Senior Lawyer at Filipiak Babicz Legal.

The actions that were the subject of the lawsuit took place between 2011 and 2013 - in the period before the merger of Walutomat and InternetowyKantor.pl, when they operated as two independent entities. During this period, the companies had different owners, and in 2018 the owner the entities previously merged under the Currency One S.A. brand changed and it continues to run the Company to date. It is worth emphasising that the current management and authorities of the company have nothing in common with the advertising activities that took place more than a decade ago, at a time when the online currency exchange market was in its “childhood years”.

- The change of ownership of the Company took place in 2018, i.e. 5 years after the events that were the subject of the case. In our view, given that the amount of the other party's claim many times exceeded the financial results of the companies at that time, we believe that the lawsuit was brought for PR reasons, says Maciej Przygórzewski, Head of Operations at Currency One SA.

- We should remember that the court found that the Cinkciarz.pl trademark was not reputable at the time when the dispute arose - as the plaintiff wanted. On the other hand, the issue of whether such use of elements of a trademark is unfair or creates a risk of confusion for the recipients is the subject of lively debate in many jurisdictions, and the rulings are not clear-cut, adds counsel Bartosz Jóźwiak, an attorney for Currency One SA.

At the same time, Currency One points out that the case concerned a typically contextual advertisement aimed solely at familiarising viewers with a comparable offer from a competitor that remained clearly identified, and neither Walutomat.pl nor InternetowyKantor.pl in any way attempted to resemble the owner of the Cinkciarz.pl trademark. The advertisements did not suggest any links between the parties, but were only aimed at presenting an alternative service to the recipients.

- Currency One fully co-operated with the experts, who were given access to the company's analytical systems and all the data collected, which enabled a faster conclusion of the proceedings at first instance. The Company's transparency also enabled the experts to assess how inadequate the competitor's claims were, says Marcin Rogalski, Head of Business Intelligence.

The awarded amount of approximately PLN 2.2 million relates to a group of clients acquired between 2011 and 2013. Currency One disagrees with the main points of the oral reasons for the judgment and announces that it will appeal.

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