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SOFIA (Bulgaria), November 18 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's competition authority said on Monday that it has rejected a complaint over alleged product imitation filed by Danish toys and games manufacturer Lego System, part of LEGO Group, against local toys retailer OMI-2004.
The anti-trust body has found no evidence of unlawful competition practices as the two companies are operating on separate markets - Lego System is a manufacturer, while Sofia-based OMI-2004 is a distributor, the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) said in a statement.
According to the claimant, OMI-2004's construction toys of the brands BELA, LY, LEPIN, KSZ and Tenma are an imitation of its LEGO construction toys and thus the defendant violates the copyrights held by Denmark-based LEGO Juris, another subsidiary of LEGO Group.
OMI-2004's operations on the Bulgarian market may have a harmful impact on the demand for LEGO toys on that market, as the prices of OMI-2004 products are half those of the original toys, LEGO System claims.
OMI-2004 argues that its construction toys can not be mistaken by the customers for LEGO products as they do not carry the familiar logo of the Danish manufacturer. The company adds that it has no competition relations with the claimant as LEGO System is not currently directly shipping its products to Bulgaria but distributes them in the country through the local toy chains Hippoland and Comsed.
The Bulgarian company offers its products mainly in the capital Sofia where it has one physical store, while construction toys of the brands BELA, LY, LEPIN, KSZ and Tenma are taken down from its online shop, the retailer said in its defence.
The main argument of OMI-2004 is that it holds no responsibility for product imitation as it is not the manufacturer of the respective products.
The regulator's decision can be appealed by interested parties before Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Court within 14 days.