An applicant recently filed a trade mark application for ПУШКИНЪ (Pushkin) to provide catering services. The claimed designation is an oval figure reminiscent of a frame of a painting or a mirror encircling the word element ПУШКИНЪ.
The Patent Office declined the registration, arguing that the word ПУШКИНЪ is the name of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and registration of his name as a trade mark would not be in the public interest.
The applicant appealed the decision to the Chamber of Patent Disputes and argued that his restaurant – Café ПУШКИНЪ – had been operating since 1999, and by the time of filing the trade mark application was recognised as one of 25 best restaurants in Europe. He further argued that the owner of the restaurant is serious about preserving the history of Russia and its cultural values, which include the name of Alexander Pushkin and his reputation.
The Chamber of Patent Disputes did not support the applicant and confirmed the decision of the examiner. It provided some historical facts for its decision. It stated that the claimed designation included the name of the poet Alexander Pushkin. He was born in 1799 in Moscow. Russian philology considers Pushkin to be the father of modern literary Russian. The Short Encyclopedia of Literature considers his works a paragon of the Russian language, like Dante in Italia or Goethe in Germany. Since the 1820s he has been considered the number one Russian poet, not only among his contemporaries but among all Russian poets of all times!
He became a kind of icon for his readers. The famous Russian writer Nikolay Gogol wrote in his article A Few Words about Pushkin in the 1830s: "Pushkin is an extraordinary phenomenon and perhaps the unique expression of the Russian spirit. This is a Russian man in the process of his development, which will perhaps become true after two hundred years." The philosopher and literary critic V Belinsky named him "the first poet and artist of Russia". The famous Russian writer F Dostoevsky said out that "Pushkin in Eugene Onegin, his immortal and unattainable poem, became a great Russian writer who was as nobody and never before him" and he also spoke of the "global" and "all-humanity" character of Pushkin's genius.
The Chamber of Patent Disputes said that considering cultural and historical traditions in Russian society, and the practice of examination procedure, marking goods and services with this designation would be unethical. Besides, providing the exclusive rights to one person to a name famous around the world would not be in the public interest. The statement of the applicant that he is interested in upholding the reputation of the poet is not sufficient for acquiring the exclusive rights to the poet's name.
Hence, the Chamber of |Patent Disputes rightfully rejected the application for the trade mark.
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