French wine producer cannot register mark resembling former president's name

Russian Federation

The Russian Patent Disputes Chamber has upheld the decision of the Russian Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to reject an attempt by major French wine producer Les Grands Chais de France to register the JELZIN trademark in Russia.

The Russian authorities had argued that several sources use 'Jelzin' as the German-language transliteration of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s last name, including the German-language version of Wikipedia, the Universal-Lexikon encyclopaedia and Der Spiegel magazine.

Russia’s PTO found that the term closely resembled the late president’s name and, therefore, could lead to associations with Yeltsin and Russia and confuse consumers.

The Russian authorities had also argued that the French wine producer had not submitted the written consent of Yeltsin’s heirs to register his last name as a trademark.

Les Grands Chais de France claimed that Wikipedia cannot be considered as an official, trustworthy source of information, stating that the German Brockhaus encyclopaedia does not list 'Jelzin' as a spelling of the late president’s name.

The PTO's decision has now been upheld by the Patent Disputes Chamber. At the time of writing, additional details about a possible appeal by the French wine producer were not available.

Jelena Jankovic, PETOŠEVIC, Belgrade

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