Marks recognized as well-known for the first time

Ukraine

Pursuant to recent amendments to the Ukrainian Trademark Act, the Kiev Economic Court has for the first time recognized a number of marks as well-known trademarks. The decisions apply to the trademark EUROPA PLUS and its Cyrillic counterpart, and to a series of MCDONALD'S marks.

The EUROPA PLUS mark and its Cyrillic counterpart were recognized as well-known marks of television and radio company Europa plus Kiev in the context of a dispute between Europa plus Kiev and two other media companies - Europa plus France SA and Studio Europa plus Ukraine. The court took account of the fact that (i) the marks have long been used by Europa plus Kiev, and (ii) there was strong evidence to suggest that the Ukrainian public associate the marks with that company's activities.

In the case involving the MCDONALD'S marks, three graphic marks owned by McDonald's Corporation were recognized as well-known in Ukraine as from December 5 1995. On the basis of this decision, a MCDONALD's trademark registered by Rosa Bukovini - a Ukrainian company - was declared invalid because of the similarity between that registration and the well-known MCDONALD'S marks.

These are just the first steps towards the recognition of well-known marks in Ukraine. Given the swift development of the Ukrainian market, a substantial increase in such cases can be expected within a matter of months.

For a discussion of the amendments to the Trademark Act allowing the courts to recognize marks as well-known, see Amendments to Ukrainian Trademark Act now in force.

Sergei Konnov and Tetyana Glukhovska, Konnov & Sozanovsky, Kiev

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