Monday, October 27, 2014

Ford Loses Trademark Appeal in Russian IP Court

Russia’s Intellectual Property Court sided with the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patens and Trademarks (ROSPATENT) in refusing to recognize Ford’s trademark as a protected word in Russia. In March, ROSPATENT ruled against Ford's petition to recognize the “Ford” trademark in the form of a blue oval with “Ford” written inside as a word that has been extensively used in Russia since June 1, 2007 to identify cars, car parts and accessories.  According to ROSPATENT, the materials provided by Ford were not enough to prove its claim that the word “Ford” is used extensively exactly as cited in the petition.  In addition, ROSPATENT said that “different forms of the trademark with the word Ford were used to mark Ford vehicles throughout its history.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Russia's Constitutional Court Turns Down Pussy Riot Member Complaint

The Russian Constitutional Court has turned down an appeal by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the Pussy Riot punk band, against what she sees as the violation of her constitutional rights by Russian Criminal Code Article 213 Part 2. The Constitutional Court published a relevant resolution on its official website on Wednesday. Tolokonnikova, one of the participants in the so-called punk prayer at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, appealed the provisions of Criminal Code dealing with disorderly conduct under which she was convicted in August 2012. Tolokonnikova argued that this article disproportionately restricts the freedom of expression, qualifies the violation of religious standards as a violation of public order, and criminalizes actions merely based on their perception by the majority of the public as unacceptable. The Constitutional Court noted in its resolution that freedom of speech always has certain limits indicated in the constitution and international law, and this fully concerns discussions on religious matters. Hence, the resolution says, the statute in question does not contain uncertainty either for citizens or for law enforcement agencies or courts, while the assessment of factual circumstances of a case is not within the Constitutional Court's purview, it said. Tolokonnikova was released from prison in December 2013 in line with an amnesty declared by the State Duma to mark the 20th anniversary of the constitution. She had been found guilty of disorderly conduct and sentenced to 2 years in a general security penitentiary in August 2012 for a so-called punk prayer that five women from the Pussy Riot punk band wearing balaclavas staged at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow in February 2012.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Russia's Supreme Court Proposes Mandatory Mediation Prior to Filing Commercial Lawsuits

Russia’s Supreme Court has proposed amendments to the Commercial Procedure Code and Tax Code introducing mediation that would require a 30 day delay in filing suit with a commercial court, only after the parties have taken steps to reach a settlement. The proposed amendments would revive a procedure that existed in commercial litigation prior to 1995 (when it was abolished), and would not apply to disputes including bankruptcy, corporate disputes, and certain federal law collection matters.  The Supreme Court has noted that the mediation procedure would enhance efficiency by reducing the number of cases filed with commercial courts.  Meanwhile, Russia's Supreme Commercial Court has ceased to exist, transferring its powers and jurisdiction to the Supreme Court under a federal law that entered into force on February 5th.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CEO of French Total Killed in Moscow Airport Accident

The chief executive of French oil major Total, Christophe de Margerie, was killed when his private jet collided with a snow plow as it was taking off from Moscow's Vnukovo airport on Monday night. De Margerie's death leaves a void at the top of one of the world's biggest listed oil firms at a difficult time for the industry as oil prices fall and state-backed competitors keep them out of some of the best oil exploration territory. The collision occurred minutes before midnight Moscow time as de Margerie's Dassault Falcon jet was taking off for Paris. Russia's Investigative Committee said the driver of the snow plow had been drunk and that a criminal investigation had been launched. The plane's three crew also died, said Total. The airport said visibility was 350 meters (1,150 feet) at the time of the crash.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Russian Ex-Oligarch: Businessmen Are Serfs in Russia

A former close associate of Vladimir Putin has said Russian businessmen were all now “serfs” who belonged to the president, with none of the country’s companies beyond his reach. Sergei Pugachev, who was once so close to Mr Putin that he was known as the “Kremlin’s banker”, made the comments in his first interview since the state seized his multibillion-dollar ship building empire in 2012. Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Pugachev warned that there were no longer any “untouchables” in a Russian business landscape increasingly dominated by Mr Putin. The Russian economy, he argued, had been transformed into a feudal system where businessmen were only nominal owners of their assets. “Today in Russia there is no private property. There are only serfs who belong to Putin,” he said.

Russian Constitutional Court Head Slams Liberalism and Homosexuality, Praises Serfdom

Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin, speaking at an intenational congress in Seoul, called liberalism one of the major problems of the modern world. Accrding to Zorkin, liberalism impede development of people and countries and promotes “aggressive struggle of sexual minorities for equal self-realization opportunities within the frames of the permissiveness ideology”. Days earlier Zorkin published an article in Rossiyskaya gazeta in which he characterized the serfdom as a “staple” of the Russian nation, suggesting that its abolishing in 1861 may have been a mistake. "Despite all its drawbacks, serfdom was the brace holding together the nation's internal unity," Zorkin wrote. "It was no accident that, according to historians, the peasants told their former masters after the reform: 'We were yours and you were ours.'"