COUNTER-STRIKE ruling struck out

Russian Federation

In Media-Service-2000 v MTU-Intel (unpublished), the State Arbitration Court for the Moscow District has ruled that MTU-Intel's use of Media-Service's trademark COUNTER-STRIKE on its website to advertise competitions of a computer game produced by a third party did not amount to infringement.

Valve LLC, a large US entertainment software company, is the copyright owner of well-known computer game Counter-Strike. It also owns trademark registrations for COUNTER-STRIKE throughout the world. Media-Service-2000, a Moscow-based company, obtained registration for the trademark COUNTER-STRIKE in Russia in relation to a number of IT and computer-related goods and services. Since trademark registration in Russia works on a first-to-file basis, there seemed to be no formal obstacles to Media-Service's registration.

MTU, a large Moscow-based internet service provider, organizes Counter-Strike game competitions. To this end, it uses the name Counter-Strike on its website. Media-Service filed a lawsuit, alleging that such use amounted to trademark infringement. It also claimed Rb2 million ($67,000) in compensation. MTU's defence consisted mainly of asserting that merely placing information on the well-known Counter-Strike game on its website was not tantamount to trademark infringement. It also claimed that Media-Service had obtained the COUNTER-STRIKE trademark registration in bad faith. However, MTU did not attempt to invalidate the registration.

At first instance, the Moscow State Arbitration Court ruled in favour of Media-Service and a panel of the Moscow Arbitration Court upheld this decision on appeal. However, the State Arbitration Court for the Moscow District did not find evidence of trademark infringement and reversed the previous ruling.

Magdalena Sekula and Pavel Arievich, Gowlings International Inc, Moscow

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