Russia's IP Court Will Not Tolerate Trademarks Adopted In Bad Faith

Author:Mr David Aylen
Profession:Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP

The annual St. Petersburg International Legal Forum (LF) was held on May 27-30 this year and was attended by Prime Minister Medvedev, several high-level government officials, representatives from several countries, law professors and practitioners. The mission of this state-sanctioned legal forum is to discuss “today's most pressing legal issues, which encompass social and economic challenges worldwide.”

At a session focused on unfair use of trademarks, the chief judge of the Russian Intellectual Property Court, Ludmilla Novoselova, shared the Court's views. In a country where abuse of trademark rights is quite commonplace, the chief judge acknowledged that this is a most pertinent issue for brand owners. She said that, for the Court, any practices that are seen to be in bad faith are of interest to the Court in its evaluation of the rights of legitimate domestic and foreign entrepreneurs.

Judge Novoselova recounted that, in the two years since the Court was created, they have heard dozens of cases where bad faith or “parasitic behaviour” were elements associated with either the improper registration or assertion of a trademark in Russia. The IP Court hears both appeals from trademark cancellation cases decided at the first instance by the Chamber for Patent Disputes, as well as appeals from decisions made by the Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS). It also hears cassation appeals from trademark infringement cases decided by the Commercial Court.

The honorable chief judge emphasized that in cancellation and infringement cases, as well as in FAS unfair competition cases, the IP Court is most interested to know if there are elements of bad faith or parasitic behaviour associated with the case.

Acts amounting to unfair competition fall within the jurisdiction of both the FAS and the IP Court. The Court is empowered to...

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