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About the Russian Orthodox Church’s bill banning brands with religious symbols

05 Jun 2024

According to Olga Plyasunova, a patent attorney at the Zuykov and Partners law firm, trademarks with a religious theme have always been registered with the permission of the Russian Orthodox Church, otherwise they would be rejected as contrary to public interest. She believes that the amendments to the legislation will just tighten the requirements for such permissions. "Therefore, if there is a re-registration of a sign, most likely a new permission will be required," Olga Plyasunova explains.

"Rospatent often refers to "contradictions to public interests" when denying, when it's necessary to protect the fundamental social norms of the state, which are not directly regulated by the law," says Elena Barshai, Head of the Intellectual Property Practice at Lemchik, Krupsky & Partners.

According to Grigory Busarev, a patent attorney of the Russian Federation, the registration of trademarks with religious semantics depends on the expertise of the particular specialist, who may miss such designations. This is particularly true for unfamiliar semantics to a specialist.

Another aspect highlighted by lawyers is that trademark registration is a business right and not an obligation. Elena Barshai said that the competence of Rospatent does not cover the regulation of all commercial designations but only those submitted for registration.

Amendments to the Civil Code proposed by the Russian Orthodox Church and Rospatent aim to formally consolidate and clarify the existing rules for trademark registration, possibly tightening the requirements for religious trademarks. These amendments will not affect existing trademarks or marks that are not registered with Rospatent.

Source: RBC