When partnerships go bad: the Technisat case


Özlem Fütman

When partnerships go bad: the Technisat case

If a relationship between two companies turns sour, the fallout can be huge, as Özlem Fütman explains.

The saga between German electronics company Technisat and Turkish company Sigma started with an email message in 2001, when Sigma asked to be Technisat’s distributor for SkyStar branded products in Turkey. Negotiations resulted in a non-exclusive agreement, but the relationship did not have a happy ending. Sigma registered the SkyStar brand under its name.

While we were preparing for a cancellation action on Technisat’s behalf, a statement appeared on Sigma’s website saying “SkyStar is the brand of German company Technisat and Sigma registered the brand in its name to give a ‘lesson’ to the brand owner”. We passed this statement to the court, then filed a lawsuit claiming cancellation of Sigma’s registration. That was the starting point of a 10-year battle.

There were two plaintiffs: Technisat Digital SA and Technisat Digital GmbH. The one that worked with the defendant was Technisat Digital SA (in those days the company name was Technisat Data Services SA). The other client, Technisat Digital GmbH, was the brand owner which registered the SkyStar mark in its name in Germany in 1997 and before the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in 2000, and then licensed it to the other defendant.

Technisat, Sigma, Turkey, Germany, IP