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Russian IP Court Rules on Trade Mark and Copyright Infringement

On 31.03.2016 the Court for IP Rights of the Russian Federation (the Court) upheld the decision of the Arbitration Court of Omskoi region and found trade mark infringement of the IR registration of the Tatty Teddy bear and copyright infringement of that literature character “Me to You Tatty Teddy” owned by the British company Carte Blanche Greetings Limited.
According to the facts of the case the Russian company Sima-lend Ltd. has created a soft toy and was selling it on its website. Through these actions the plaintiff claimed that Sima-lend Ltd. has infringed the exclusive trade mark rights and copyrights of the character “Me to You Tatty Teddy” owned by Carte Blanche Greetings Limited.
The first instance court found no infringement on the grounds that the plaintiff has not proved ownership of the IR and copyrighted work and that there is no likelihood of confusion between the toy and the literature character. The appeal instance reversed the decision by stating that the disputed soft toy represents a redesigned copyright work resembling the bear “Me To You Tatty Teddy”. The resemblance is achieved by using the same material and colour combination, proportions and characteristics – typical sitting position, patches. Additionally, by comparing the toy and the figurative IR registration of the Tatty Teddy character the court found that there is a high degree of similarity which may lead to likelihood of confusion on behalf of the consumers.
In considering the relevant legal provisions the Court found that the court of appeal has correctly analysed the facts of the case and has reached the correct legal conclusions. The Court discussed at length what type of works fall within the definition of copyrighted works and that copyright protection is granted to any objective form that the work may cover. Particular stress was put on what types of use of a literature character are considered as infringing use. These are, for example, use of the character as created or its most specific features or redesign of the character which uses the main features of the original character. Similar analysis was made with regard to the infringing use of the plaintiff’s IR’s trade mark registration by the Russian company. On these grounds the Court upheld the decision of the appeal court and granted the requested amount of damages to Carte Blanche Greetings Limited.

Author: Dr. Maria Schlueter

Source: ConsultantPlus - Legal News Portal
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