Russian Court Rules Against Coca-Cola in Trade Dress Lawsuit
The Eighth Commercial Court of Appeals in the Siberian city of Omsk has recently upheld the decision of the first-instance court and dismissed the Coca-Cola Company’s trade dress lawsuit against Spring, a soft drink manufacturer based in Omsk, southern Russia.
Coca-Cola claims that the shape of Spring’s two-liter bottle used for the traditional Russian beverage kvass sold under the Bochonok label, closely resembles the shape of the well-known “contour bottle”, a registered trademark that helps distinguish Coca-Cola from other brands.
The Omsk Arbitration Court rejected Coca-Cola’s lawsuit on July 18, 2013 after the defendant presented reports showing the absence of confusion among Russian consumers regarding the source of goods.
On November 21, 2013, the appellate court ruled that the plaintiff did not provide clear and convincing evidence to show that the bottles in question are similar. The plaintiff submitted an opinion of the Russian Designer Union expert commission, but the court rejected it as it was unclear which bottle design was compared to the plaintiff’s bottle.
The appeal court also noted that the plaintiff based its claim on its trademark rights in Classes 30 and 32, whereas it argued against the use of the bottle, i.e. infringement of trademark rights in Class 20.
The Coca-Cola Company can further contest the decision of the appellate court before Russia’s recently established Intellectual Property Court.
Prepared by: Tatiana Khmelyuk
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