Russian court to reconsider case over Kalashnikov brand name

Russian court to reconsider case over Kalashnikov brand name
Russia's Intellectual Property Court (IP Court) will reconsider a suit brought by firearms maker Kalashnikov Concern against M. T. Kalashnikov, a company established by the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle and his family members, according to court records.

This case will be heard for the second time. The Kalashnikov Concern is suing for the early termination of legal protection of the defendant’s trademark in Russia. The trademark includes the image of a Kalashnikov rifle and the name “AK-47” for such goods as toys and games. The plaintiff is requesting termination of legal protection due to the brand not being used by the right holder. Kalashnikov Concern is interested in obtaining the rights because M. T. Kalashnikov produces full-scale models of weapons, including the AK-47.

The disputed trademark was registered by M.T. Kalashnikov in 2004, its legal protection was extended in late 2012 through 2022, according to patent agency Rospatent. It also covers clothes, headgear, toys, gaming machines and table games that bear the Kalashnikov logo.

Kalashnikov Concern said it had filed the lawsuit to terminate the logo’s legal protection because the designer’s heirs did not use it, and also because it produced full-scale models of various weapons, including the AK-47.

The ruling in favor of the designer’s family was made on December 23, 2014. The Presidium of the Intellectual Property Court said that the trademark was used by the rights holder (defendant) and other individuals, including for the production of АК-47 airsoft replicas. At that time the court ruled that there was no reason to terminate the legal protection of the logo.

Also, in May, the Presidium of the Intellectual Property Cour overturned a lower instance court ruling against the concern’s lawsuit, and returned the case for a second review.

The Presidium of the Court for Intellectual Property Rights noted that the lower instance court did not weigh the plaintiff’s argument that the plaintiff and third parties in the case did not use the disputed trademark as registered but used a trademark of a similar appearance. Therefore, the lower instance court must decide whether the trademark and the signage used by the plaintiff and the third parties bear a reasonable resemblance.

According to BIR Analitik, the information analysis system at Prime, a business news agency, M.T. Kalashnikov was established in 1999 by Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the famous rifle, his daughter and grandson, and it planned to focus on photography.

Mikhail Kalashnikov was 94 when he died on December 23, 2013.

Kalashnikov Concern is an association of the largest companies in the Russian small arms industry. It was established in 2013 and includes Izhmash, the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant, the Vyatskie Polyany Machine Building Plant Molot, the Koshkin Automatic Lines Design Bureau (Klimovsk) and NITI Progress (Izhevsk).

The group exports its products to 27 countries including the United States, the UK, Germany, Norway, Italy, Canada, Kazakhstan and Thailand.

You can find out more at RAPSI

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