Patent watchdog rejects 'Jelzin' vodka registration
MOSCOW, January 31 - RAPSI. The Chamber for Patent Disputes has confirmed its decision to deny Les Grands Chais De France's request to register the "Jelzin" brand in Russia, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks reported on Thursday.
The patent watchdog refused to provide the French company with the brand's legal protection in Russia on July 25.
The case files include online materials stating that "Jelzin" is the German transliteration of first Russian President Boris Yeltsin's last name - "Boris Nicolajewitsch Jеlzin," the watchdog said. The spelling is used by the German-language version of Wikipedia and various other sources of information, such as the Universal-Lexikon encyclopedia and the Der Spiegel magazine.
As the term closely resembles the late president's last name, it could lead to associations with Russia and confuse consumers, according to the patent watchdog. An expert review also concluded that the plaintiff did not provide the written consent of Yeltsin's heirs to have his last name registered as a trademark.
Meanwhile, in its letter to the watchdog, Les Grands Chais De France claimed that Wikipedia cannot be considered an official, trustworthy source of information in the case. Moreover, a search through the German Brockhaus Encyclopedia, which is widely accepted as an authoritative source of information in Germany, does not list "Jelzin" as a spelling of the late Russian president's name. This contradicts the expert assessment, the plaintiff said.
Les Grands Chais De France is a major wine producer in France, selling products to over 200 countries worldwide.