Trademark law amended following ban of Communist and Nazi symbols

Ukraine

A new law condemning the Communist and Nazi regimes and prohibiting all related symbols and propaganda entered into force in Ukraine on May 21 2015. Several articles of the Ukrainian Law on Protection of Rights to Marks for Goods and Services have been amended in accordance with the new law.

Points 1 and 2 of Article 5 (conditions for granting legal protection) were amended by adding the highlighted text:

  1. Legal protection shall be granted to a mark that does not contradict the public order, the principles of humanity and morality, and the Ukrainian Law “On condemning the Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibiting the propaganda of their symbols”, and is not subject to the grounds for refusal of legal protection established by the present law.
  2. A trademark may consist of any sign or any combination of signs, such as words, including personal names, letters, numerals, pictorial elements, colours and combinations of colours, as well as any combination of such signs. A trademark cannot contain the following: any name or pseudonym of a person holding a senior position within: the Communist Party, starting from the secretary position of a district committee and higher; the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's highest bodies of power and administration; other Soviet Union republics and autonomous Soviet republics (except in cases related to the development of Ukrainian science and culture), who used to work for the Soviet security bodies; the names of the USSR, the Ukrainian SSR, other Soviet republics and their derivatives; denominations associated with the Communist Party activities and its establishment on the territory of Ukraine, other administrative units of the Soviet system, as well as denominations associated with the fight against the participants in the struggle for the independence of Ukraine in the 20th century.

The amendments also include a new Point 5 in Article 6 (grounds for refusal of legal protection), which reads as follows:

"Legal protection shall not be granted to a mark that contradicts Point 2 of Article 5 of the law, and the Ukrainian Law 'On condemning the Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibiting the propaganda of their symbols'."

Under the transitional provisions of the new law, rights holders whose trademarks contain Communist and/or Nazi symbols are obliged to bring such trademarks into line with the legislation. However, it is not specified how this will work in practice.

Below are some registered trademarks in Ukraine whose legitimate use may be put into question:

  • Registration No 100717 in Class 29:
  • СОКИ СССР ('USSR Juices'), Registration No 73140 in Class 32.
  • USSR POKER (and design), Registration No 102392 in Classes 38 and 41:

     
  • RED OCTOBER (and design), Registration No 127770 in Class 30:
  • СССР (and design), Registration No 97997 in Class 8:

     
  • ВИНО СТАЛИНА ('Stalin’s Wine'), Registration No 63691 in Class 33.
  • SOVIET ICE-CREAM (and design), Registration No 193700 in Class 30:

     
  • SOVIET CHAMPAGNE (and design), Registration No 62637 in Class 33:

Tatiana Panchenko, PETOŠEVIĆ, Kiev

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