The Danish company Container Centralen (CC) hires out returnable transport items, amongst others the acknowledged transport unit for pot plants, the CC Container. K. G. van Vliet has been a customer of CC’s for many years, and has many CC Containers under contract with CC. At the end of July, K. G. van Vliet filed a lawsuit against CC. K. G. van Vliet claims that CC doesn’t sufficiently protect its system against illegal container copies of an inferior quality, and that CC has increased its fees to cover the costs for repair and maintenance of these containers.
Chief fiinancial officer Urban Folcker is surprised as he says, ”The last few years, we have adjusted the price annually, corresponding to general price index increases. But the pool fee in 2009 is still more than 3% less than it was in 1991. I think this is pretty unusual for any company.”
CC regularly updates the identification marks of all CC Containers in the company’s pool to ensure that any illegal containers that may have entered the system are detected, and “freeloaders” are avoided.
“We are aware that there are companies in the market that copy our identification marks to enter our system illegally. This is why we will change the identification marks of all CC Containers again in 2010,’ says managing director Tonny Gravesen. “This time, the new tag will have built-in RFID (Radio Frequence Identification), which is impossible to copy, according to our supplier. This will make it much easier to detect and reject illegal copies for all users,’ says Gravesen.
Another way to protect the CC Container pool is to monitor the markets and take action on infringements, which CC does continuously. “Within the past two months, we have won two court cases against offenders who infringed our intellectual property rights by copying our CC Container identification marks. These cases had been ongoing for years, but at least it is nice to know that justice is done in the end”, says Gravesen.
The recent legal procedure with K. G. van Vliet, was, however, not initiated by CC. “We of course regret that one of our long-time customers disagrees with us on some issues. However, we are happy that this issue was settled so quickly, and that all charges were rejected or dismissed at the procedure; we are now looking forward to continuing to work together”, Gravesen ends.