Ukraine Amends Trademark Law Following Ban of Communist and Nazi Symbols

Jun 29 2015 - 11:56

A new law condemning the Communist and Nazi regimes and prohibiting all related symbols and propaganda entered into force in Ukraine on May 21. Several articles of the Ukrainian Law on Protection of Rights to Marks for Goods and Services have been amended in accordance with the new law.

Points 1 and 2 of Article 5 (Conditions for Granting Legal Protection) were amended by adding the highlighted text:

  1. Legal protection shall be granted to a mark that does not contradict the public order, principles of humanity and morality, the Ukrainian Law “On condemning the Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibiting the propaganda of their symbols”, and is not subject to the grounds for the refusal of legal protection as established by the present law.

  2. Trademark may consist of any sign or any combination of signs, such as words, including personal names, letters, numerals, pictorial elements, colors and combinations of colors, as well as any combination of such signs. Trademark cannot contain the following: any name or pseudonym of a person holding senior position within the Communist Party, starting from the secretary position of a district committee and higher; the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic highest bodies of power and administration; other Soviet Union republics and autonomous Soviet republics (except in cases related to the development of the Ukrainian science and culture), who used to work for the Soviet state security bodies; the names of the USSR, the Ukrainian SSR, other Soviet republics and their derivatives; denominations associated with the Communist Party activities and its establishment on the territory of Ukraine, other administrative units of the Soviet system, as well as denominations associated with the fight against the participants in the struggle for independence of Ukraine in the twentieth century.

The amendments also include a new Point 5 in Article 6 (Grounds for Refusal of the Legal Protection), which reads:

Legal protection shall not be granted to a mark that contradicts p. 2 of Article 5 of the given Law, and the Ukrainian Law “On condemning the Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibiting the propaganda of their symbols”.

Under the transitional provisions of the new law, the rights holders whose trademarks contain communist and/or Nazi symbols are obligated to bring such trademarks in line with the legislation. However, it is not specified how this will work in practice.

There are some registered trademarks in Ukraine whose legitimate use can be put into question, for example:

Soviet mark & design, Reg. No. 100717 in IC 29

Соки СССР USSR Juices, Reg. No. 73140 in IC 32

Reg. No. 102392 in IC 38, 41

Red October & design, Reg. 127770 in IC 30

USSR & design, Reg. 97997 in IC 8

Вино Сталина Stalin’s Wine, Reg. No. 63691 in IC 33

Soviet Ice-Cream & design, Reg. No. 193700 in IC 30

Soviet Champagne & design, Reg. No. 62637 in IC 33

By: Tatiana Panchenko

For more information, please contact Tatiana Panchenko at our Ukraine office.

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