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Legal alerts / 30.9.2019

Geographical indications to be protected in Russia

From July 27, 2020, Federal Law No. 230-FZ dated July 26, 2019 is coming into force, owing to which geographical indications will be protected in Russia. A geographical indication is a designation identifying goods, which have specific features substantially bound in with the geographical place of their origin. At least one stage of the production of such goods must be carried out in the place of their origin. The term of protection of geographical indications will be 10 years and it can be renewed for each following 10 years.

Not only can geographical names of Russian products be registered as geographical indications, but so can geographical names of products protected abroad as geographical indications. In the European Union, countries’ geographical indications along with designations of origin have been protected for a long time. However, in Russia, currently legal protection is granted only to designations of origin, which are subject to stricter requirements than geographical indications.

There are different kinds of goods for which geographical names can be registered as geographical indications, for instance, mineral resources, food, beverages, alcoholic drinks, handicrafts, etc. For example, the Pierre de Bourgogne (France) and Granite de Bretagne stone (France), Lucanica di Picerno sausages (Italy), Danbo cheese (Germany), Clare Salmon (Ireland), Raviole du Dauphine pasta (France), and Budejovicke Pivo beer (Czech Republic) are protected abroad as geographical indications.

Third parties will not be allowed to register trademarks which are identical or confusingly similar to registered geographical indications.

There is practice abroad of challenging trademarks confusingly similar to geographical indications. The Association of Bavarian Brewers “Bayerisher Brauerbund”, as the owner of the geographical indication “Bayerisches Bier”, applied to the court, which prohibited the use by the Italian branch of Dutch company Bavaria BV of the name “Bavaria” in Italy. The company was ordered to cancel its trademarks including the name “Bavaria”¹.

Having the right to a registered geographical indication is necessary for the imposition of a ban to third parties that are not the holder of such geographical indication from using it with respect to homogeneous goods.

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