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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian dairy loses legal dispute over Pik-Nik trademark

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The Supreme Court of Estonia on Wednesday, February 20, dismissed an appeal submitted by Lithuanian dairy company Žemaitijos Pienas against Estonia’s Estover in the string cheese trademark dispute, leaving Estover the right to sell its products under the name Piknikupulgad (Picnic Sticks).

Žemaitijos Pienas, one of Lithuania’s largest dairy companies, first initiated a dispute with Estonian dairy company Estover over the cheese string trademark in October 2017, accusing the Estonian company of violating its rights and interests by using a similar trademark on a similar product. According to the Lithuanian company, Estover’s product name Piknikupulgad was too similar to Žemaitijos Pienas’ Pik-Nik trademark.

The circuit court in November of last year dismissed the appeal in cassation and agreed with the county court’s conclusion that the trademarks and product name lack similarity.

Lithuanian, Polish presidents pledge to step up defence cooperation

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Polish President Andrzej Duda have agreed in Warsaw on Thursday, February 21, to coordinate their countries’ positions on security and defence issues and step up military cooperation.

Security and defence issues were in focus during the Lithuanian president’s last state visit to Warsaw. The two presidents signed a joint declaration, and Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis signed two agreements on the exchange of air surveillance radar data and on the Lithuanian-Polish brigade affiliation.

The Lithuanian and Polish presidents pledged to enhance cooperation between the Lithuanian and the Polish Armed Forces, in particular by formalisation of ties between forces along the Suwalki Corridor in terms of adequate planning and training.

Bribery suspicions brought against Druskininkai mayor

Lithuania’s law enforcement on Thursday, February 21, brought influence peddling and bribery suspicions against Ričardas Malinauskas, mayor of Lithuania’s southern resort town of Druskininkai, and his adviser Aivaras Kadziauskas, the Special Investigation Service said.

Previously, searches were carried out at the homes of Malinauskas, mayor of Lithuania’s southern resort town of Druskininkai, and also his adviser as part of a large-scale corruption investigation. During a press conference, the Druskininkai mayor has accused several politicians and prosecutors of having organized the crackdown, adding that an adviser to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite put pressure on judges.

Žydrūnas Bartkus, head of the Special Investigation Service, says law enforcement officials suspect that bribes were paid in the so-called Vijunėlė Manor case.

Vilnius clears hurdles for national stadium construction deal

The City Council of Vilnius adopted on Wednesday, February 20, its final decisions clearing the way for signing a 79.9-million-euro deal on the construction of a national stadium in the Lithuanian capital with Axis Industries, a company of the Icor Group. The draft agreement was approved in a vote of 26 to ten with seven abstentions. However, the city’s decisions have been contested in court by Vilniaus Nacionalinis Stadionas (VNS), the second bidder which was removed from the tender procedure.

The central government has warned the capital’s authorities that they risk losing 33.5 million euros in EU funding because of the protracted processes, urging them to discuss alternative financial sources.

Attempts to build an international-standard stadium in the capital’s Šeškinė neighbourhood have been made since 1987. Construction works were last started in 2008 but had to be halted as the funding was discontinued.

Vilnius mayor breached law separating public and private interests

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius breached the law when he posted videos produced on municipal funds on his Facebook account, the Chief Official Ethics Commission ruled on Wednesday, February 20. The investigation was carried out in response to a request of the Vilnius Municipality Council’ Anticorruption Commission. The Central Electoral Commission has also turned to the COEC over the same issue.

The COEC identified that the mayor posted videos, funded by the municipality and produced by comic Oleg Surajev, on his personal Facebook account. The watchdog recommended that the mayor published information on the municipality’s official website and official social media accounts.

Lithuania receives new shipment of Javelin missiles

Lithuania has received a new shipment of Javelin anti-tank defence systems, worth over 20 million US dollars, 5 million of which came in financial support from the United States of America. The systems will be provided to units of the Lithuanian Land Force in order to strengthen defence capabilities of Lithuania.

The ministry does not provide the exact number of the purchased systems due to security reasons. The Javelin medium-range anti-tank missile system is and advanced weapon capable of destroying modern, explosive reactor armour (ERA)-fitted main battle tanks in daylight and at night at a distance of 75 meters – 2.5 kilometres.

Cryptocurrency platform Blockchain opens office in Vilnius

Global cryptocurrency platform Blockchain opened an office in Vilnius on Tuesday, February 19, with plans to hire several tens of employees by the end of the year. Blockchain is headquartered in London and also has offices in New York and San Francisco.

The Vilnius office will be its fifth office and will employ design, customer service and programming engineer teams. Blockchain says it is the world’s largest developer of software for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. The company has more than 33 million cryptocurrency wallet users in 160 countries.

Hollywood actor Rūta Lee granted Lithuanian citizenship

Rūta Mary Kilmonis-Lee, a Hollywood actor of Lithuanian descent, has been granted Lithuanian citizenship. The respective decree was signed on Monday, February 18. Rūta Lee, who has lived in the United States since 1948 and holds US and Canadian passports, told reporters during her visit to Lithuania in July 2016 that she dreamed of a Lithuanian passport as well.

The 82-year-old acted in around 100 films and received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. The actress, who speaks Lithuanian fluently, was conferred the Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania in 2006.


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