Dutch firm to continue court battle over Danish trolleys

Dutch company KG van Vliet has vowed to continue its long-running legal battle with Danish trolley company Container Centralen despite losing an appeal case that concluded last week.

The appeal followed the original lawsuit, heard in a Hague court last July, which claimed that Container Centralen had failed to protect the pool of trolleys from illegal copies and had increased its pricesto cover its costs.

KG van Vliet general manager Martien Klaver told HW that he would not be daunted by the mounting legal costs and insisted that he would fight on. "We expected this result but it is not the last word. We are the only ones who have the power to do this - everyone else is too small to make a fist against Container Centralen," said Klaver.

"We have already started a new case and this time we have new witnesses. We are fighting for the industry to get the prices down."

Container Centralen chief executive Tonny Vangsgaard Gravesen said: "We are never glad when our clients think they have to take us to court but of course I'm glad that the court found Container Centralen is doing its utmost to protect the system."

The company is set to introduce radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on all of its trolleys on 1 November to rid the pool of illegal trolleys.

It estimated that there are up to one million illegal trolleys in circulation, or roughly one in three. By eliminating the illegal trolleys, Gravesen explained that it would be possible to reduce the price for all pool users.

Klaver warned that the EUR400 cost of scanners made RFID an unattractive option to tackle the illegal trolleys. But Container Centralen maintained that costs would soon be recouped.

Gravesen said: "Every contract holder has to take his share in protecting the common investment. We will not increase the price in 2011 and if it all goes according to plan we can reduce the price in 2012. Container Centralen has given me the mandate to promise clients that every euro saved will be used to decrease pool fee prices."

Customers will be sent the new tags to install in October, at which point unlicensed trolleys will either have to be registered at a cost of EUR12 or removed from the system.

No court date has been set yet, but Klaver said it would take place in Haarlem. He added: "We are convinced that we will win the next case. We have new witnesses and we can prove everything on paper. We pay millions to Container Centralen every year so I think I am allowed to ask what is going on."

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