Koh-i-Noor Tuzkárna Hardtmuth Narodni Podnik v Fabrique de Crayons Hardtmuth

Date17 Giugno 1958
CourtCourt of Appeal of Turin (Italy)
Italy, Court of Appeal of Turin.
Koh-i-noor Tukrna L. & C. Hardtmuth Narodni Podnik
Fabrique de Crayons Hardtmuth L. & C., S.r.l.

Jurisdiction Territorial Territorial limits of Foreign confiscatory legislation Effect on assets situate in country of forum Situs of trade names and trade-marks Effect on trade names and trade-marks The law of Italy.

Recognition of acts of foreign States and Governments Foreign confiscatory legislation Effect on property in country of forum Effect on trade-marks registered by expropriated owners in country of forum Grounds for non-recognition of foreign legislation Discrimination The law of Italy.

The Facts.The firm of Koh-i-noor, L. & C. Hardmuth (hereinafter referred to as Hardtmuth) was a partnership established in 1897 at Budejovice, in a part of Austria which, after the First World War, became part of Czechoslovakia. A Czechoslovak Presidential Decree of October 24, 1945, provided for the nationalization of various categories of trading establishments, including the firm of Hardtmuth. A subsequent Decree (of March 7, 1946) established the National Enterprise Koh-i-noor, L. & C. Hardtmuth (hereinafter referred to as the National Enterprise), and vested in the latter all the assets formerly owned by Hardtmuth. In 1950 the expropriated partners of Hardtmuth formed a French limited company in Paris. This Company, the respondents herein, brought actions in several countries[1] for the purpose of establishing the right to the trade name of Koh-i-noor, L. & C. Hardtmuth and all trade-marks registered on behalf of the former partnership.

In this action, as far as here material, the French Company claimed an injunction to restrain the National Enterprise from trading under any name containing the words Koh-i-noor, L. & C. Hardtmuth and using the trade-mark registered in the name of the partnership in Italy. The National Enterprise, the appellants herein, counterclaimed for an injunction to restrain the French Company from trading under any name containing the words Koh-i-noor, L. & C. Hardtmuth and using the said trade-marks. The Court of first instance gave judgment for the French Company on the claim and counterclaim, and the National Enterprise now appealed.

Held: that the appeal must be dismissed. As neither the Czechoslovak Decree of October 24, 1945, nationalizing the firm of Hardtmuth, nor the Decree of March 7, 1946, provided for the payment of compensation to the partners of the firm, the two decrees were incapable of producing any legal effect in Italy. In the eyes of Italian law, the partners remained the owners of all the assets of the partnership which were situate in Italy, including the trade name and the trade-marks, and as these assets had been transferred by the partners

to the French Company the latter was entitled to the injunctions claimed

The Court said, in part: We must examine the scope of the measures providing for nationalization and the territorial limits of their efficacy, by reference to private international law and, in particular, the principles of territorial public policy.

The phenomenon of nationalization arose with some frequency between 1918 and 1920, as a result of the Soviet Decrees of nationalization. As nearly all the Russian companies which were then nationalized had considerable interests in France, that country was the locus classicus of the revival of such...

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