Decision handed down in cabbage fight

Russian Federation
The Russian Arbitration Court has held that Russian bank SKB-Bank has exclusive rights to use the image of a Savoy cabbage in the banking sector. The dispute opposed SKB-Bank to another Russian bank, the National Bank TRUST, which had also been using the image of the vegetable.

SKB-Bank registered the image of a Savoy cabbage with the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (Rospatent) in 2006 for the purpose of using it in its advertising campaigns:

The National Bank TRUST argued that a legal entity cannot own exclusive rights in the image of such a widely consumed vegetable. However, Rospatent maintained that banks are allowed to register common words and the corresponding images as trademarks, as long as these words and images have no direct connection with the banking sector.

The Russian Arbitration Court agreed, and ordered the National Bank TRUST to pay $9,700 (approximately €7,400) in damages to SKB-Bank.

Two other Russian banks are currently involved in a similar dispute: the Orient Express Bank, which owns exclusive rights in the word ‘Christmas’, has filed a claim against the Russian Capital Bank for using the same word. The hearing of the case was scheduled for September 24 2010.

Jelena Jankovic, PETOŠEVIC, Belgrade  

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