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The perspective of the development of the NPOP as a regional brand

Dec. 15, 2018

The name of the place of origin of the product (hereinafter referred to as the NPOP) is one of the most
rarely registered subject matters of intellectual property. However, thanks to the active state policy on the
promotion and actualization of regional brands, the interest of manufacturers to the registration of the
NPOP increases every year, what reveals the positive dynamics of the development of the NPOP
institution as a regional brand.
What a regional brand means
In the Russian legislation there is not a legal definition of the term “brand.” The analysis of the legal
literature and periodicals shows that the concept “brand” should be understood as a combination of
various subject matters, which individualize the product of a certain manufacturer and cause the following
associative links: “the product – the producer” and “the product – the quality” among the consumers. The
term “brand” is a broader concept than, for example, a trademark, and it includes a combination of such
significant elements for an enterprise as: business reputation, different means of individualization, which
“individualize” a product and a manufacturer, a recognizable design of a package or a product, etc. That
means, that the brand includes what in the aggregate causes the association with a particular company or a
product in the minds of the consumers.
The uniqueness of the regional brand is that its constituent elements are aimed at the individualization and
promotion of the peculiarities of the region. Two types of regional brands are differentiated: a regional
brand of resources and a place brand. In most cases, when the issue is about the regional brand, the brand
of resources is implied. Under the resources, the products, the landscapes, the cultural and historical
heritage, which are characteristic of the region, are implied. The place brand is a series of associations,
images that symbolize the values ​​of a particular region. 1 As a rule, the regional brand includes both of the
above said kinds.
What the regional brands are needed for
Under the conditions of an import substitution and a dynamic development of the regions, the need to
promote and popularize the regional brands is obvious. Such brand will draw the consumer’s attention to
certain properties of the product, the place of its origin and it will confirm the quality of the product. The
use of the regional brand will make it possible for the manufacturer to increase the recognition of the
product and to increase the sales volume. For the region, a well-known regional brand is an inflow of
financial, human resources and an increase in the level of employment of the population.
Geographical indications are a new kind of the regional brands
The Rospatent’s specialists on the basis of the study of various legislative acts in the field of the
protection of the NPOP and the geographical indications (hereinafter referred to as the GIs) have made
the proposals for the improvement of the Russian legislation. In 2018, in the first reading, the State Duma
adopted draft law No. 509994-7, in which it is proposed to introduce the geographical indications as a
new subject matter of the legal protection into Part 4 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. The
main advantage of such means of individualization is in the simplified requirements made to the
registered designation, in comparison with the NPOP. It is obvious that the GIs will be actively used and
promoted as the regional brands, since now it will be possible to provide the legal protection to those
designations, which could not have been registered as the NPOP.
The advantages of the NPOP as a regional brand

1 Yshimi Zuike // Regional brand: What is a regional brand? – URL:
https://sites.google.com/site/yshimizuike/home/regionalbrand01/regionalbrand02

The possibility of obtaining a certificate for the use of the designation by the enterprises that are
independent from each other is one of the advantages of the NPOP as a regional brand. So, if on the
territory of the region there are several manufactures of the similar products, each of them has the right to
register the NPOP.
Another advantage is that, using the NPOP, the manufacturer indicates to the name of the geographical
object, within the limits of which the product is manufactured, thus drawing the consumer's attention to
the place of manufacture of the product.
Another positive peculiarity is the permissibility of a permanent change in the scope of the right holders
of the NPOP. Due to this circumstance, the manufacturer can expect obtaining a certificate for the
designation from the date of the release of the production with the appropriate properties, and obtaining
all necessary documents. Thus, the NPOP can be constantly used by various enterprises, what contributes
to the recognition of the designation and the popularization of the region.
The perspective of the development of the NPOP as a regional brand
To forecast the perspectives of the development of the NPOP as a regional brand, it is worth analyzing the
information on the number of the applications for the registration and the certificates issued according to
the results of their consideration by Rospatent; on the products in respect of which the certificates for the
NPOP are being registered; on the state policy for the development of the institution of the regional
brands.
Speaking about the development of the NPOP institution as a regional brand, it is worth paying attention
to the statistics of Rospatent on the dynamics of filing the applications and issuing the certificates for the
NPOP. According to the report for 2017, the share of the applications during the period from 2013 to
2017 increased from 39 to 56. During the same period, the volume of the certificates issued increased
from 9 to 30. 2 The number of the applications and certificates is increasing, so it is possible to assume that
the manufacturers are beginning to aware the expediency of the registration of the NPOP. It is also worth
noting that, among 56 applications for 2017, 18 applications were filed for the designations, which have
not been previously registered as the NPOP. This reveals the fact that the manufacturers have begun to
show an interest to the individualization of the products not only through the use of fantasy elements and
verbal symbols (as in the case of trademarks), but also by establishing a link between the production and
the certain conditions of its manufacture.
A majority of the NPOP in respect of which the legal protection has been sought, are aimed at the
individualization of the food products. Starting since 2013, according to the reports of Rospatent, the
applications for the issuance of the certificates for the NPOP with regard to mineral water have held a
leading position. 3 Taking into account the fact that the food products are the main articles of
consumption, there is a high probability of a further use of the NPOP, which have already been registered.
The current state policy is aimed at promoting the development of the regions. During the XXI
International Conference of Rospatent, Deputy Head of Rospatent, Lyubov Kiriy, has called the name of
the place of origin of the product as “... the most important means of individualization, which underlies
the formation of a successful regional brand, since it allows establishing a link between the products and
the territory on which they are manufactured.” 4 The regional brands, including the NPOP, in particular,
are a kind of tools to improve the demographic and financial status of the subjects of the Russian
Federation. In this connection, the arrangements are being carried out to draw the public attention to the
NPOP institution. In 2018, the Rospatent’s representatives held a thematic meeting dedicated to the
2 https://rupto.ru/content/uploadfiles/docs/otchet_2017_ru.pdf
3 http://old.rupto.ru/about/reports/2013_1
4 https://rupto.ru/ru/news/16-10-2017-itogi-xxi-mezhdunarodnoy-konferencii-rospatenta-na-pervoy-sekcii-obsudili-razvitie-
regionalnyh-ekonomik-s-ispolzovaniem-sredstv-individualizacii

topical issues of the legal protection of the NPOP, in which the representatives from 27 regions
participated. 5 The comprehensive arrangements on informing the manufactures with respect to the
advantages of the registration of the NPOP are being implemented, as well the work of the state bodies
located on the territory of the regions, which is aimed at the increase of a number of the applications filed
for the registration of the NPOP is being stimulated.
All the above said circumstances reveal the fact that the interest of the manufacturers to such means of
individualization as the name of the place of origin of products increases every year, and the development
of the NPOP as a regional brand is one of the significant tasks in the strategic policy of Russia.

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Author of article

Sergey Zuykov

Sergey Zuykov

Managing Partner / Patent Attorney of the Russian Federation / Eurasian Patent Attorney