Hungary updates

Competition & Antitrust

Contributed by Schoenherr
Upcoming amendments to Competition Act
  • Hungary
  • 21 May 2020

Parliament recently adopted a new act to ensure that the Competition Act fully complies with EU Directive 2019/1/EU (ECN+ Directive). The Hungarian legislature has chosen to apply most of the ECN+ Directive rules to all antitrust proceedings (ie, regardless of whether they are conducted under Hungarian or EU law). However, in certain cases, the scope of the new provisions will be limited to proceedings on an EU legal basis.

COVID-19: competition law considerations for businesses
  • Hungary
  • 07 May 2020

The government recently declared a state of emergency in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and issued a special legal order. To date, no provision has been adopted under the special legal order allowing for a special exemption from the rules of competition law. Affected undertakings must therefore continue to pay attention to competition compliance. This article aims to help companies meet these requirements in view of the European Competition Network's recommendations.

Increased fines – HCA targets telecom companies
  • Hungary
  • 12 March 2020

In the past three months, three telecom giants received unexpectedly heavy fines from the Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) in consumer protection cases. In 2019 the HCA imposed more fines in total for unfair commercial practices against consumers than in cartel cases and, on the basis of its recent decisions, it looks likely to do the same in 2020. These recent decisions also show that repeated infringements are now subject to a stricter assessment.

Rising focus on HCA settlement proceedings – case law round-up
  • Hungary
  • 19 December 2019

Since 1 July 2014, companies have been able to initiate settlement proceedings with the Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA). Recent case law suggests that the HCA has aimed to foster cooperation between itself and market participants and is striving for cooperation even when market participants allegedly commit grave infringements of competition rule commitments.

Compensating consumers may save reputation
  • Hungary
  • 19 September 2019

Misleading business-to-consumer information may lead to significant fines. Two recent Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) decisions prove that the HCA has maintained its position as a watchdog of both consumer rights and fair competition. In both cases, the companies were investigated by the HCA because they had omitted to tell customers important information, thereby harming them.


Employment & Immigration

Contributed by Schoenherr
Legal implications of remote working – opportunity or threat?
  • Hungary
  • 20 May 2020

What seemed hardly imaginable months ago has become a reality as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic: sizeable teams in various companies had to switch to remote working within a few days and have now been working remotely for several weeks. This article highlights some of the legal challenges caused by the sudden introduction of remote working.

Employment contracts and COVID-19
  • Hungary
  • 06 May 2020

COVID-19 has created completely new challenges in the employment sector. As there is significant uncertainty and a need for detailed information about the situation, this article provides a timeline of employment-related measures that have been introduced to combat COVID-19 in Hungary.

COVID-19 and new employment measures
  • Hungary
  • 15 April 2020

The appearance and spread of COVID-19 in Hungary has made extraordinary measures necessary. The government has declared a state of emergency and new measures have been adopted. This article summarises the key information for employers with regard to COVID-19.

Supreme Court rules on compensation for post-termination non-compete agreements
  • Hungary
  • 02 October 2019

Companies often use non-compete agreements to prevent highly skilled employees from using their know-how in favour of competitors following their termination. The Supreme Court recently addressed various questions relating to the compensation paid to employees for post-termination non-compete agreements. This article examines this topic in light of the Supreme Court's recent guidelines and a recent decision which led to debate among practitioners.

New rules on handling of employee data
  • Hungary
  • 26 June 2019

Parliament recently adopted a new law amending several sectorial laws concerning the processing of personal data. The new law aims to provide clarity in these areas and has amended the general rules of the Labour Code. It has also introduced a new chapter which sets out general rules on the handling of employee data. Although the amendments of the existing rules on the processing of employee data have been eagerly awaited, many practitioners have expressed their disappointment.


Intellectual Property

Contributed by Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
Procedural law trumps substantive law: Aldi fails to prove use of mark
  • Hungary
  • 16 March 2020

In a recent trademark opposition case, Aldi – one of the biggest supermarket chains in Hungary – was unable to prove use of its mark in Hungary because it filed evidence of use only in Spain and the United Kingdom. Further, the evidence that Aldi did file was insufficient. As neither the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office nor the Metropolitan Tribunal can undertake an investigation ex officio, neither entity explicitly examined Aldi's reputation in Hungary, despite the fact that they were likely well aware of it.

Appreciation of likelihood of confusion
  • Hungary
  • 02 March 2020

A recent Metropolitan Tribunal ruling serves as a useful reminder that decisions on likelihood of confusion always contain subjective elements. Quoting European Court of Justice case law, the tribunal appreciated the degree of distinctiveness and danger of confusion in the case at hand, but not the elements of the two opposed marks.

All that jazz: bad-faith trademark applications
  • Hungary
  • 20 January 2020

Hungarian case law has prohibited acting in bad faith for centuries – particularly since the introduction of the Civil Code 1958 and the Trademark Act 1979. As a result, there are few examples of bad-faith trademark cases. A recent case involving the JAZZY PUB and JAZZY marks aligns Hungarian case law with that of the European Court of Justice, which holds that a finding of bad faith can be made if an applicant was aware of a prior mark when it filed its application.

Free-riding on reputation of LOUIS VUITTON mark
  • Hungary
  • 16 December 2019

There have been relatively few 'free-riding' trademark cases in Hungary since the country's laws were harmonised with EU law in 1997. However, in a case involving the unfair use of the LOUIS VUITTON mark, the courts' decisions correspond to, and provide a helpful reminder of, the European Court of Justice's test for determining whether a party has taken unfair advantage of a mark's reputation.

Applicant found to have acted in bad faith in order to abuse trademark protection
  • Hungary
  • 14 October 2019

The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office recently rejected a trademark application on the grounds of bad faith, finding that the applicant had attempted to register the mark so that he could charge a licence fee when a swimming arena with the same name commenced operations. As bad-faith decisions are rare in trademark cases, this decision would also be relevant in piracy cases.


Litigation

Contributed by SMARTLEGAL Schmidt & Partners
Common law on horizon? New law reforming litigation enters into force
  • Hungary
  • 19 May 2020

While COVID-19 has been dominating the headlines, a new act, which entered into force on 1 April 2020 and fundamentally reforms the role of judge-made law in Hungary, has received less attention. This article examines why this landmark bill was passed, the extent to which it means the adoption of common law and what its potential impact will be on litigation in Hungary.

Supreme Court judgment: choice of law by conduct in litigation?
  • Hungary
  • 07 April 2020

Can parties' conduct during litigation amount to an implied choice-of-law agreement based on EU Regulation 593/2008? This article analyses a recent Supreme Court judgment concerning this question. The court's decision indicates a shift from the well-settled case law concerning the conclusion of contracts by conduct.

Optional jurisdictional clauses: limited effect in Hungary?
  • Hungary
  • 10 March 2020

Can a party commence litigation in Hungary despite a jurisdictional agreement in favour of a court of a non-EU state which is optional for one of the parties? The Supreme Court recently answered this question in a case which highlights the negative effects of such asymmetric choice-of-court agreements.

Penalty claim without prior reservation? Supreme Court confirms estoppel-based practice
  • Hungary
  • 18 February 2020

Is a penalty for delayed performance enforceable if the purchaser fails to reserve its rights immediately? Or is enforceability excluded only if the purchaser expressly waives its right? This article analyses the Supreme Court's judgment in a recent construction dispute, in which the court appears to have maintained its estoppel-based practice despite recent legislative changes.