A trade mark registration No 570712 was obtained by a
Russian R-line company in relation to goods in Class 12 and
services in Class 36. Volkswagen AG appealed against the
registration of that trade mark.
Volkswagen argued that the disputed trade mark might confuse
the consumer in respect of goods in Class 12 because its word
element R-LINE is similar to the designation R-Line, which was
used in Russia before the date of priority of the disputed
trade mark in relation to Volkswagen cars with an R-Line trim.
As a result, it argued that the trade mark is associated with
Volkswagen rather than the trade mark owner. To support its
claim, Volkswagen produced an array of documents, including
publications in Russian magazines advertising Volkswagen cars
with this trim, sales contracts, etc.
The Chamber of Patent Disputes examined the documents and
confirmed that a designation similar to the word element R-LINE
in the disputed trade mark had been used during the period
before the priority date of the disputed trade mark by
Volkswagen Group Rus. Ltd. controlled by Volkswagen AG and
trading in cars, but not by the trade mark owner.
Consequently, the goods labelled with the disputed trade
mark were perceived by consumers as those produced by
Volkswagen, i.e. cars. At the same time, the examination board
did not find any grounds to state that the disputed trade mark
did not conform to the requirements of Article 1483(3) of the
Civil Code and that Volkswagen AG, the appellant, could be
interested in cancelling registration in relation to other
goods in Class 12 unrelated to cars, i.e. air, water and
railway transport means.
The appellant's representatives, when asked during the
hearing, confirmed that they are not engaged in any activities
related to production of air, water or railway transport
As a result, the board of examiners decided that the
disputed trade mark should be cancelled only in relation to
land automotive vehicles of various type such as cars, lorries
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