Rospatent rejects vodka mark inspired by prime minister and president

Russian Federation
Russia’s Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (Rospatent) has rejected an application by Royalty, a Russian beverage producer, for the registration of the trademark VOLODYA I MEDVEDI ('Volodya and the bears') for vodka.

The mark makes reference to the names of Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. As the Moscow Times explained, 'Volodya' is a nickname for 'Vladimir', and 'Medvedi' - or 'bears' in Russian - sounds similar to the last name of President Medvedev.

Royalty filed the trademark application in December 2009, but it was rejected by Rospatent in October 2010. Royalty filed an appeal, arguing that the mark VOLODYA I MEDVEDI was inspired by the most popular male name in Russia, as well as fairy tales. Rospatent rejected the appeal in February 2011, stating that the mark would be "detrimental to the image and interests of the state and contrary to public interest".

Interestingly, Ukrainian company Vineksim, which is not affiliated to Royalty, has registered the same mark for vodka in Ukraine and started to export it to Russia. Vineksim also sells the Putinka vodka (which plays upon the name of Prime Minister Putin), which is the second most popular vodka brand in Russia.

Jelena Jankovic, PETOŠEVIC, Belgrade  

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