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Russia: Trade mark sought for Kennedy’s Assassin

Strange overtones sometimes accompany intellectual property. Usually businesses register trade marks to promote their goods. In this case a Russian company filed a trade mark application for a trade mark Kennedy's Assassin in class 41 (production and distribution of motion pictures).

The applicant explained that he wanted to shoot a movie under that title. It was clarified to him by the Patent Office that the title of a movie and a trade mark are different things. Anyway the examination procedure continued and after a year the Patent Office refused to register the trade mark. It was argued in the rejection that the claimed designation has a semantic meaning which contradicts the public interest.

Notwithstanding, the applicant did not see anything objectionable in the designation and appealed the official action at the Chamber of Patent Disputes in November 2013. He argued that the designation was the title of a motion picture he wanted to make telling the biography of Lee Harvey Oswald. The purported aim for which the trade mark should be registered was to advertise the film under that title. He also argued that there were other similar designations registered as trade marks (which is not correct because the only trade mark which could be found was The Thirst Killer which has a different connotation).

The Chamber of Patent Disputes was not convinced and rejected the appeal. In doing so it also reminded the applicant that the registration would contravene the public interest. Besides, and it is rather strange and off the mark, the Chamber delved into history and invoked "social responsibility" prescribed by various religious norms: according to Moses Law the person who struck another person to death should also be killed. Blood of the killed person desecrates the earth and expiation of guilt is possible by the blood of the killer only.

Another part of the Chamber's decision was closer to the ground: it stated that the applicant did not provide documents showing that he was engaged in producing and distributing films. The Chamber also explained that copyright and trade marks are different subject matters.

Leaving aside intellectual property, one could hardly imagine that consumers would queue up for the goods under such a trade mark, be it films or otherwise. Indeed the workings of the human mind are a mystery.

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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