Trademark dispute between Philip Morris and patent authority closed
MOSCOW, July 11 - RAPSI. The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals dropped on Wednesday its proceedings in Philip Morris trademark registration lawsuit against the patent regulator, the court told the Russian Legal Information agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com).
The company has decided not to pursue the trademark's registration any further.
The Moscow Commercial Court dismissed the lawsuit and upheld the patent regulators decision to deny the company the Optima Zolotaya trademark's registration in April.
Phillip Morris appealed the ruling.
The Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks held that the trademark is confusingly similar to trademarks previously registered by British American Tobacco-Java.
The agency said the word "Zolotaya" can be viewed as an independent element, which would infringe on British American Tobacco-Java's trademark rights.
Last March, Philip Morris attempted to challenge the agency's decision, claiming that the word "Zolotaya" on a pack of cigarettes is not perceived separately from the word "Optima."
However, the Patent Disputes Chamber found the arguments unconvincing. The company disagreed with the service and took the matter to court.
The plaintiff provided the court with a sociological survey, allegedly proving that the trademarks would not be confused. The research claimed that the brands are different in terms of phonetics, appearance and semantics. The word "Zolotaya" is not the key element, the survey added. Furthermore, 97 percent of the respondents said they would never mix up the brands.
The patent authority later stated in court that the survey does not conform with legal standards and should only be interpreted as research conducted to the authoritys position, as 19 percent of the respondents believed that the trademarks were held by a single firm. British American Tobacco Russia sided with the patent service, claiming that the trademarks look similar.
Phillip Morris International has representative offices in over 160 countries. Its head office is in New York. The company owns various cigarette brands, including Marlboro, L&M, Chesterfield and Bond Street. Philip Morris held a 16-percent share of the international market in 2010.
Established in the UK in 1902, British American Tobacco is the second leading global cigarette company after Philip Morris International. Its brands include Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Kent and Dunhill. The company has 45 plants in 39 countries.