Caldwell IP’s Trademark Attorney, Julie Tolek, is mentioned in The Fashion Law to discuss Russian trademark squatting, nationalization, and the future of intellectual property in light of recent anti-Western sentiment.
War on IP
The Fashion Law Writes: Christian Dior, Chanel, and Givenchy are not the only brands being targeted by an influx of trademark applications in Russia. Nike, adidas, Puma, Levi’s, BMW, and Audi have joined a growing list of Western titans falling prey to bad faith filings….the Russian government is considering putting a moratorium on trademark protections for companies in “unfriendly” countries … [intellectual property lawyer Ana Skovpen] states that the volume of “abusive” filings is significantly greater now.
Echoing this sentiment, Caldwell Intellectual Property Law attorney Julie Tolek states that “the unpredictability of the future for enforcement of intellectual property in Russia makes it difficult for “brands from ‘unfriendly countries’” to anticipate what a return to the Russian market might look like. It certainly is easy to imagine the possibility that the parties currently seeking to co-opt famous’ companies’ trademark by way of fraudulent applications may “hold those marks/brands hostage and extort the non-native brands with a licensing agreement in order to use their own marks in Russia again.”
Tolek notes, of course, that if these “Russian spin-off trademarks are, indeed, allowed registration, and the [bona fide rights holders’] current registrations in Russia are not cancelled but rather, merely go unenforced, the more recent trademarks would, technically, have a later priority date than those original, valid marks.” If this scenario were to occur in the U.S., she states that “the first mark would have priority rights over the second mark,” and thus, the bona fide rights holders “would have the ability to file a cancellation of the spin-off/infringing marks.” This could be a potential course of action for companies if/when they opt to re-enter the Russian market.
Should the luxury knockoffs “fail to deliver on this higher standard, any perceived value of the spin-off trademarks will likely also fizzle out,” according to Tolek, “just like the knock-off McDonald’s.”
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