Russian perfume maker fails to register US film name as trademark

Russian Federation

The Moscow Commercial Court has upheld a decision of the Russian Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in which the latter had refused an application by Russian perfume producer Parfumeria XXI Veka for the registration of the word mark AVATAR for perfume.

In April 2011 the PTO had rejected the trademark application, stating that the mark would be identical to the name of the 2009 US science fiction blockbuster film Avatar.

The PTO argued that the registration would be likely to mislead the public and that the Russian perfume producer would unfairly capitalise on the reputation of another entity. As the trademark is associated with 20th Century Fox, the PTO stated that consumers might be led to believe that the US film studio and the Russian perfume maker were business partners.

Parfumeria XXI Veka, which has been operating in Russia for over 10 years, alleged that the PTO’s decision was unfounded and biased. It argued that the mark AVATAR is not registered in Russia and that the PTO had failed to show how consumers would be misled.

On May 23 2012 the Moscow Commercial Court upheld the decision of the PTO. The PTO had made 20th Century Fox aware of the dispute and the film studio’s representatives were present at the hearing.

Jelena Jankovic, PETOŠEVIC, Belgrade

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