MOSCOW, May 13 (RAPSI) - The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals has rejected on Monday a Russian businessman's appeal against a court order to stop using the Burger King brand in his domain names, RAPSI reports from the court.
Burger King Corporation sued Alexei Makoveyev for his use of the burgerking.su and burger-king.su domain names, which are confusingly similar to the plaintiff's registered trademark. In April, the court ordered Makoveyev to stop using the brand names, although it only awarded Burger King 200,000 rubles in compensation, rather than the 500,000 rubles ($16,595) that the company sought.
Makoveyev's attorney said at the hearing that his client had never used the domains to post information about Burger King Corporation's registered trademarks. Both websites advertised franchise services and provided information about franchising in Russia.
The plaintiff's representative dismissed the arguments as immaterial, adding that Makoveyev's actions still constituted infringement on a registered trademark.
The court upheld the lawsuit, noting that there was information about a Mr. Burger franchise on the websites. The advertisement was posted by the defendant, who had no right to use the registered trademark, as it belongs to Burger King Corp.
To avoid problems with the rightful trademark owners, pseudo-franchise dealers apply to the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks, but do not follow through with the registration procedures at the last minute.
There are 12,000 Burger King restaurants across 75 countries. The company earns an average annual profit of $1.5 billion. Burger King made a foray into the Russian market in early 2010 after signing a franchise partnership agreement with the owner of Russia's Shokoladnitsa cafe chain. The company currently owns 57 restaurants in Russia.