The name of the place of origin of the product (hereinafter referred to as the NPOP) is one of the mostrarely registered subject matters of intellectual property. However, thanks to the active state policy on thepromotion and actualization of regional brands, the interest of manufacturers to the registration of theNPOP increases every year, what reveals the positive dynamics of the development of the NPOPinstitution as a regional brand.What a regional brand meansIn the Russian legislation there is not a legal definition of the term “brand.” The analysis of the legalliterature and periodicals shows that the concept “brand” should be understood as a combination ofvarious subject matters, which individualize the product of a certain manufacturer and cause the followingassociative links: “the product – the producer” and “the product – the quality” among the consumers. Theterm “brand” is a broader concept than, for example, a trademark, and it includes a combination of suchsignificant 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. Thatmeans, that the brand includes what in the aggregate causes the association with a particular company or aproduct in the minds of the consumers.The uniqueness of the regional brand is that its constituent elements are aimed at the individualization andpromotion of the peculiarities of the region. Two types of regional brands are differentiated: a regionalbrand of resources and a place brand. In most cases, when the issue is about the regional brand, the brandof resources is implied. Under the resources, the products, the landscapes, the cultural and historicalheritage, 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 theabove said kinds.What the regional brands are needed forUnder the conditions of an import substitution and a dynamic development of the regions, the need topromote and popularize the regional brands is obvious. Such brand will draw the consumer’s attention tocertain properties of the product, the place of its origin and it will confirm the quality of the product. Theuse of the regional brand will make it possible for the manufacturer to increase the recognition of theproduct and to increase the sales volume. For the region, a well-known regional brand is an inflow offinancial, human resources and an increase in the level of employment of the population.Geographical indications are a new kind of the regional brandsThe Rospatent’s specialists on the basis of the study of various legislative acts in the field of theprotection of the NPOP and the geographical indications (hereinafter referred to as the GIs) have madethe proposals for the improvement of the Russian legislation. In 2018, in the first reading, the State Dumaadopted draft law No. 509994-7, in which it is proposed to introduce the geographical indications as anew subject matter of the legal protection into Part 4 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. Themain advantage of such means of individualization is in the simplified requirements made to theregistered designation, in comparison with the NPOP. It is obvious that the GIs will be actively used andpromoted as the regional brands, since now it will be possible to provide the legal protection to thosedesignations, 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 areindependent from each other is one of the advantages of the NPOP as a regional brand. So, if on theterritory of the region there are several manufactures of the similar products, each of them has the right toregister the NPOP.Another advantage is that, using the NPOP, the manufacturer indicates to the name of the geographicalobject, within the limits of which the product is manufactured, thus drawing the consumer's attention tothe place of manufacture of the product.Another positive peculiarity is the permissibility of a permanent change in the scope of the right holdersof the NPOP. Due to this circumstance, the manufacturer can expect obtaining a certificate for thedesignation from the date of the release of the production with the appropriate properties, and obtainingall necessary documents. Thus, the NPOP can be constantly used by various enterprises, what contributesto the recognition of the designation and the popularization of the region.The perspective of the development of the NPOP as a regional brandTo forecast the perspectives of the development of the NPOP as a regional brand, it is worth analyzing theinformation on the number of the applications for the registration and the certificates issued according tothe results of their consideration by Rospatent; on the products in respect of which the certificates for theNPOP are being registered; on the state policy for the development of the institution of the regionalbrands.Speaking about the development of the NPOP institution as a regional brand, it is worth paying attentionto the statistics of Rospatent on the dynamics of filing the applications and issuing the certificates for theNPOP. According to the report for 2017, the share of the applications during the period from 2013 to2017 increased from 39 to 56. During the same period, the volume of the certificates issued increasedfrom 9 to 30. 2 The number of the applications and certificates is increasing, so it is possible to assume thatthe manufacturers are beginning to aware the expediency of the registration of the NPOP. It is also worthnoting that, among 56 applications for 2017, 18 applications were filed for the designations, which havenot been previously registered as the NPOP. This reveals the fact that the manufacturers have begun toshow an interest to the individualization of the products not only through the use of fantasy elements andverbal symbols (as in the case of trademarks), but also by establishing a link between the production andthe certain conditions of its manufacture.A majority of the NPOP in respect of which the legal protection has been sought, are aimed at theindividualization of the food products. Starting since 2013, according to the reports of Rospatent, theapplications for the issuance of the certificates for the NPOP with regard to mineral water have held aleading position. 3 Taking into account the fact that the food products are the main articles ofconsumption, 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 XXIInternational Conference of Rospatent, Deputy Head of Rospatent, Lyubov Kiriy, has called the name ofthe place of origin of the product as “... the most important means of individualization, which underliesthe formation of a successful regional brand, since it allows establishing a link between the products andthe 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 RussianFederation. In this connection, the arrangements are being carried out to draw the public attention to theNPOP institution. In 2018, the Rospatent’s representatives held a thematic meeting dedicated to the2 https://rupto.ru/content/uploadfiles/docs/otchet_2017_ru.pdf3 http://old.rupto.ru/about/reports/2013_14 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 regionsparticipated. 5 The comprehensive arrangements on informing the manufactures with respect to theadvantages of the registration of the NPOP are being implemented, as well the work of the state bodieslocated on the territory of the regions, which is aimed at the increase of a number of the applications filedfor 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 ofindividualization as the name of the place of origin of products increases every year, and the developmentof the NPOP as a regional brand is one of the significant tasks in the strategic policy of Russia.
Managing Partner / Patent Attorney of the Russian Federation / Eurasian Patent Attorney