Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Russia: proposed changes to protection of descriptive trade marks

Бизнесу запретят патентовать изображения и категории товаров says Izvestia (Известия - the font it uses for the masthead, which looks unchanged from Soviet times, is beautiful), committing the journalist's inevitable sin when writing about intellectual property, because that third word is part of the word 'to patent' and this is clearly a trade mark story. It concerns a proposal to stop the registration of trade marks comprising descriptive words or images of products themselves - a crispbread manufacturer registered a picture of their product as a trade mark and allegedly used it to create a monopoly, and other similar instances are cited in the article, which Google Translate can help you understand. There is also a blog entry from World Trademark Review here which is in English.

At present this is just a proposal before the Federal Council, the upper house of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (you might be surprised to find that the word for 'Council' is 'Soviet' - they should surely have found a synonym), but it is interesting to see another country grappling with overstrong trade mark protection. An interagency working group is being set up to consider the problem. Its conclusions might be something from which the European Union could learn.

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