Court rules against Coca-Cola in trade dress lawsuit

Russian Federation

The Eighth Commercial Court of Appeals has upheld a decision of the first instance court and dismissed The Coca-Cola Company’s trade dress lawsuit against Spring, a soft drink manufacturer based in Omsk, southern Russia.

Coca-Cola claimed that the shape of Spring’s two-litre bottle, used for the traditional Russian beverage kvass and sold under the brand Bochonok, closely resembled the shape of Coca-Cola's well-known 'contour bottle', a registered trademark.

The Omsk Arbitration Court rejected Coca-Cola’s lawsuit on July 18 2013 after the defendant presented reports showing the absence of confusion among Russian consumers as to the source of goods.

On November 21 2013 the appellate court ruled that Coca-Cola had not provided clear and convincing evidence to show that the bottles in question were similar. Coca-Cola had submitted an opinion by the Russian Designer Union's expert commission, but the court rejected it as it was unclear which bottle design was compared to the plaintiff’s bottle.

The appeal court also noted that the plaintiff based its claim on its trademark rights in Classes 30 and 32, but directed its arguments against use of the bottle - that is, infringement of trademark rights in Class 20.

Coca-Cola can further appeal the decision of the appellate court to Russia’s recently established Intellectual Property Court.

Tatiana Khmelyuk, PETOŠEVIĆ 

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