Baker & McKenzie Successful in Defending Kraft Foods’ Rights to the Yubileinoe Trademark
16 Aug, 2012
Baker & McKenzie succeeded in upholding the trademark rights of Kraft Foods in a legal dispute involving claims for cancellation of the registration of a trademark. The decision of the Ninth Arbitrazh Court of Appeals reaffirmed the exclusive right of Kraft Foods in the Yubileinoe mark, thus enabling the food company to invest further in the development and promotion of this popular brand in the Russian market.
On 18 July 2012, the Ninth Arbitrazh Court of Appeals disallowed an appeal lodged by Livenskaya Confectionery Factory against the Moscow Arbitrazh Court judgment that had dismissed its earlier claim. Livenskaya was seeking to invalidate the Rospatent, Russia’s patent and trademark office, decision to reject the cancellation action against the registration of the Yubileinoe trademark by Kraft Foods. In filing its cancellation action, Livenskaya relied on its view that prior to 1994 the Yubileinoe mark had come into common use as a designation of products of a certain kind.
Baker & McKenzie attorneys, who represented Kraft Foods in court, managed to persuade the judges that this mark had not become a generic product designation and was widely viewed by consumers as a trademark, while the existence in the Soviet Union of Yubileinoe cookie recipes – available to all confectionery factories – did not constitute grounds for the conclusion that the mark had lost its distinguishing capacity.
“It was a privilege for us to help Kraft Foods, which is heavily investing in the development, popularization and international promotion of the legendary Yubileinoe brand, to protect its trademarks from third-party infringement,” said Baker & McKenzie partner Denis Khabarov, who represented Kraft Foods in the law courts of the Russian Federation. The team of attorneys who worked on the case included Moscow office partner Eugene Arievich, counsel Pavel Gorokhov, and associates Darya Ermolina and Galina Grishanova.
Kraft Foods has been operating in Russia for seventeen years now and is the leader in chocolate and chocolate confectionery, freeze dried coffee, and biscuit categories. The company owns five factories in the Vladimir, Leningrad and Novgorod regions. The number of Kraft Foods employees in Russia is more than 4,000 and in last 15 years the company’s total investments have surpassed USD800 million.