Thursday, January 15, 2015

Alibaba Wins Trademark Victory in Russia's Supreme Court

On Tuesday Russia's Supreme Court upheld a May 2014 decision by the IP court granting China’s Alibaba Group exclusive right to trademarks which had been challenged by BVI-registered Holmrook Ltd.  The IP court initially terminated Holmrook's trademark rights because the cybersquatter had not used them for three years. Under Russian law, a lawsuit to demand the termination of trademark registration due to non-use can only be filed by "a party of interest" who plans to use this trademark. China’s Alibaba Group announced in court that it planned to expand its e-commerce operation in Russia. Russian courts are currently considering an Alibaba Group vs. Holmrook case over the domain. Moscow courts of two instances have ruled in favor of the Chinese company, but the IP Court has returned the case for retrial for procedural reasons. The Moscow Commercial Court, which heard the case in December 2014, again ruled in favor of Alibaba Group and prohibited Holmrook from using the domain, though that decision has yet to go into effect.