Ledina granted Zsolnay trademark, owner to sue

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Three members of the Zsolnay family, whose predecessors established porcelain maker Zsolnay, have agreed to allow the Pécs local council, which established Ledina Kerámia, to use the Zsolnay trademark for cultural, tourism, catering and other business purposes. Zsolnayʼs majority owner says the family has no such rights and plans legal action, according to reports.

Ledina Kerámia was established by Zsolnay’s minority owner, the local council of Pécs, to take over operations in case porcelain maker Zsolnay Porcelánmanufaktúra went into liquidation due to debt. However, when the debt was paid off, the liquidation procedure was ended and majority owner Bachar Najari, a Syrian businessman, said the company was spared and the fight to take over the company was over, according to reports. 

Later, Ledina Kerámia, which has taken over a significant proportion of Zsolnay’s staff and has built a plant ready to manufacture, was reported to have filed for the right to the Zsolnay trademark, which has just been granted to them, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

The local council mandated the cityʼs mayor to sign the agreement with Zsófia Mattyasovszky-Zsolnay, László Mattyasovszky-Zsolnay-Bruckler and Viktor Mattyasovszky-Zsolnay yesterday, according to MTI. The agreement applies to a number of classes under the Nice Classification, the system for classifying goods and services for European Union trademark applications, MTI added.

However, Zsolnay Porcelánmanufaktúra said in a statement that the descendants of the companyʼs founder have no right to use the name for such purposes as it may only be used by the company, and cited an earlier decision by Hungaryʼs supreme court, according to MTI. Zsolnay Porcelánmanufaktúra promised to “use all legal means to prevent the unauthorized, malicious and fraudulent use of the name,” according to the news agency.

A brief history of the ʼporcelain warʼ

In the middle of August, Ledina was reported to have been put up for sale after Zsolnay was spared liquidation by a Hungarian court.

The municipal council of Pécs is the minority owner of Zsolnay, and was planning to take over operations when it looked like the company would be liquidated as a result of a debt majority owner Bachar Najari owed, initially to MKB Bank, and then to a construction company that had purchased the debt. 

After the debt was repaid, a court declared the liquidation procedure against Zsolnay terminated. Zsolnay’s legal counsel said that although the decision could be appealed, it was difficult to refute. 

Around 130 employees departed Zsolnay en masse to work at Ledina Kerámia in early June, amidst concerns over Zsolnay’s future. Government-friendly daily Magyar Idők reported at the end of June that staff had left the company due to “psychological pressure and ruined morale.”

Najari said at a June 14 press conference that the historic porcelain manufacturer had “come under attack by a group lobbying to take over business” in EU-supported building renovations. 

Najari said in mid-summer the courtʼs decision to terminate the liquidation procedure “puts an end to the organized theft of the factory with the involvement of politicians and businessmen.”

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