Caixa Geral sues Caja Rural before its operations on Portuguese soil

Correspondent in Lisbon



Caja Rural is very advanced in the project to operate in Portugal, but it has encountered an unexpected obstacle that embitters its launch on the other side of the border. The official name of the Andalusian entity is Caja Rural del Sur and, as is logical, it made an adaptation to Portuguese so that clients could hire its services naturally, without leaving any external evidence that it was a foreign firm.

Therefore, already translated, Caixa Rural do Sul it was about to speed up the procedures to start operations … until the Portuguese Caixa Geral made an appearance with the demand that the word ‘caixa’ can only be used by them in the neighboring country.

The surprise

of the Sevillian executives was reflected in full rule and, to top it off, the Portuguese have not been left with verbal threats. In effect, they have taken action in court in order to force the Spanish competition to change the name.

Caja Rural’s expansive plans predate the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, although the authorization of the Bank of Portugal for its operating license did not arrive until March 3 of last year, as detailed in the weekly ‘Expresso’.

In fact, barely a week passed before the Caixa Rural do Sul brand was successfully registered, which has verified the good progress of its agreements with businessmen from the Algarve in the National Property Institute.

The Portuguese entity lost, therefore, the first battle, but it is not satisfied and has just raised an appeal before the Intellectual Property Court. Where is it written that the commercial use of the word ‘caixa’ belongs to them? That is one of the unknowns that float in the air. Furthermore, it cannot be forgotten that there is a Caixa de Crédito Agrícola in Portugal.

The Portuguese cling to the precedent of their similar conflict with the Catalans at Caixabank. A legal dispute that started at the end of 2016 and lasted until two years later. Resources and more resources until the Superior Court of Justice of Portugal agreed with Caixa Geral. That is where the basis for the current claim lies, which may turn out to be an ordeal for the Seville-based company.

The Portuguese bank was a few years ago in the process of recapitalization after detecting the urgency of an injection of between 4,000 and 5,000 million euros, and intended to start its new stage with a name change, Caixa Bank, which the Catalans did not like at all, with a strong presence in the neighboring market since they control the Portuguese Investment Bank (BPI).

CGD’s board of directors approved to register the trademark with the National Institute of Industrial Property, thus sowing suspicion both in Caixa D’Estalvis i Pensions like in Caixabank Sociedad Anónima.

Barcelona filed a lawsuit, and thus a whole economic soap opera arose that ended up in the hands of the High Court, the same one that Caixa Geral has in its sights today, if necessary.

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