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Russia: Red cross background unprotectable as a trade mark

"AMICO" Cjsc filed a trade mark application for a figurative designation comprising two wide intersecting lines of a red colour for goods in class 10, and services in classes 35, 37,42 and 44. Inside each line there were intersecting ovals of white colour shaped as stylised satellites orbits. The protection was sought in red and white.

The Patent Office rejected the application arguing that the claimed designation included the image of the Red Cross with rounded corners, which is confusingly similar with the designation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, known also as the International Red Cross.

The rejection was issued despite the fact that the applicant had submitted a letter of consent from the all-Russian public organisation The Russian Red Cross and an agreement with that organisation.

The Patent Office noted that the submitted documents could not justify registration of the claimed designation as a trade mark because the consent was given for the period from March 1 2013 to March 1 2016. On expiration of that term, the registration of the trade mark (the term of which according to the law should be 10 years) would contradict Article 1483 of the Civil Code (which provides that the symbols of international organisations can be registered if agreed by a competent body). The applicant did not agree with the rejection and appealed it. He argued that he was a leading manufacturer of X-ray equipment in Russia and was actively engaged in providing services for free to socially vulnerable people and implementing charitable projects together with the Red Cross and that he had received irrevocable and perpetual permission to use the emblem of the International Red Cross and its national subsidiary – all Russian public organisation The Russian Red Cross.

The Chamber of Patent Disputes accepted the arguments of the applicant and allowed the registration of the designation for which the applicant received a new, perpetual permission from the Russian Red Cross. However the background image of the red cross was allowed as un-protectable element only.

Vladimir Biriulin

Gorodissky & Partners
Russia 129010, Moscow
B. Spasskaya Str
25, stroenie 3
Tel: +7 495 937 6116 / 6109
Fax: +7 495 937 6104 / 6123



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