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Sunday, 2 October 2005

IN THE PICTURE


Forbes reports on a dispute surrounding the AGFA PHOTO trade mark. Agfa Photo is now insolvent, and is selling its plants. However, those interested in buying the plants will only purchase if they also obtain rights to the trade mark. However, the AGFA PHOTO trade mark is in the hands of a private investor, Hartmut Emans, following a deal designed to secure jobs at Agfa Photo. Emans is reportedly asking for somewhere between 10 and 20 million euros for the trade mark. Agfa-Gevaert, the previous parent company of Agfa Photo has expressed its displeasure, saying that the point of giving Emans the mark was to secure jobs at the plants. If the sale of the plants falls through, those jobs will be endangered.

The IPKat says that this goes to show the sticky sort of problems that can arise where trade marks are sold independently of the goodwill in the business that has used them.

6 comments:

Guy said...

Similarities exist to the Rover situation. BMW own the Rover trade mark but not the derelict motor factory. If enough money is raised the factory can make cars but it depends on BWM whether they can call them Rovers.

AGFA is an acronym unassociated with photography. The firm became part of the mighty IG Farben. Post war (1945) the Agfa plant in Wolfen, DDR, manufactured photographic materials using the trade mark ORWO as use of AGFA was forbidden.

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Rick said...

Yes Agfa TM was registered in 1897 - the company Actien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation had as one of its founders the son of the composer Mendelssohn.

It came into I G Farben because in 1925 Bayer Leverkusen took it over and Bayer was an IG Farben member - it was after all a Cartel just like the British Dyers' Association (BDA) in Bradford.

When Bayer decided to focus on dumping low margin businesses it exited dyestuffs, chemicals, and agricultural chemicals - so the Agfa-Gevaert business was left to focus on electronic imaging.

Agfa is a TM than Helmut Emans is trying to hawk around, it should have been licensed as Rolls-Royce did with its car logo and not sold. It is a great brand but always an also-ran against Kodak and Fuji.

Come to think of it why didn't HP merge with KOdak instead of CompaQ - it would have built on printer margins instead of PC non-margins. Should have employed me instead of Fiorino !

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