Zorro Productions' lawsuit against Russian circus dismissed
MOSCOW, November 14 (RAPSI) – The Moscow Commercial Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Zorro Productions company to recover 30 million rubles ($650,430) from Russian State Circus Company (Rosgostsirk) for illicit trademark use, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
The US company initiated the suit after Tamerlan Nugzarov from Rosgostsirk staged a circus show, Viva Zorro, at the Big Moscow Circus on Vernadskogo Prospekt in Moscow. Nugzarov also toured several Russian cities with the show in 2011 and 2012.
The court reconsidered the case. In December 2013, the Moscow Commercial Court rejected the company’s lawsuit but the Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals in March reversed the decision of a lower court and ruled that Rosgostsirk should compensate Zorro Productions Company 200,000 rubles ($4,336). In July, the Intellectual Property Court vacated this ruling and sent the case for reconsideration.
A representative for Rosgostsirk said on Friday that the company doesn’t find the lawsuit reasonable. The character of Zorro is in the public domain in the US, he said.
A Zorro Productions representative did not appear in court.
Earlier, a Zorro Productions representative said in court that his company owns the rights to the Zorro character, and that the Russian circus had not asked for permission to use the image. A Rosgostsirk representative argued that there were no documents among the case materials proving that Zorro Productions had registered ownership of the character. The plaintiff has not indicated the work of fiction in which the said character appears as a copyrighted object, the circus spokesperson said.
According to the Rosgostsirk’s press service, they have officially registered the Viva Zorro title with the Russian Authors’ Society, and Nugzarov has the legal right to use it.
Zorro Productions Inc., located in Berkeley, California, controls the worldwide trademarks and copyrights in the name, visual likeness and the character of Zorro. Rosgostsirk is a state circus company that unites over 70 permanent and traveling circuses.