1 February 2011

The Spy Who Loved Her Name

IMG_9950photo © 2010 zemistor | more info (via: Wylio)

Do you remember the bank that trademarked “Christmas”? Can happen only in Russia, right? Well, the land of Tolstoy, Bakunin and Putin shows once again that it is always good to provide for news relating to intellectual property!

The current case I would like to spend some words on is not as outrages as the “Christmas” one, though it involves a personality who not long ago gained a huge medial publicity.

Like to guess who might that be? Hm, what was this blog article’s name in the first place?

Yes, I can be talking only about Anna Kuschyenko, also known as Chapman! According to the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, the spy scandal heroine has successfully been granted the right to use her name as a trade mark for the classes 3, 14, 25, 28, 32, 33, 35 and 41. In doing so, Chapman obviously did what many others had already done in the past.

In this respect people have often asked me:

Are personal names registrable as trade marks?

In all generality, yes. While treated as descriptive signs and hence “weak” marks in the US, they are to be assessed exactly the same way as any other prospective trade marks in the European Union.
In other words, both jurisdictions allow the registration of personal names with their respective trade mark offices.

Apparently the same is true also under Russian trade mark law. Nevertheless, there is one thing I don’t really feel kosher about when considering the registrability of the Chapman mark. After all she was accused to have participated in an espionage affair and thus deported back to Russia. I would have classified those circumstances disparaging, had I been appointed to examine Ms Chapman’s application and, would have eventually rejected it. But Russia is different and we all know that. Russia loves its spies and treats them as heroes. Would it be then permissible to ask:

Was the trade mark registration Russia’s payoff to Ms Chapman?

I am afraid we will never figure this one out. In any case she spied in her country’s name, did love its own and succeeded in trademarking it!

Did you find this article informative or helpful? If yes, you might want to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it.

27 April 2009

Keep your job or surf on Facebook – what would you choose?

Facebook - Friend and foe!photo © 2008 Mark Jensen | more info (via: Wylio)

I agree, the topic of this posting may read a bit weird, but only unless you live and work in Switzerland. According to the Swiss 20 Minuten Online an insurance company based in Basel fired an employee after having registered her activity on Facebook.

Ok, that was just a part of the story, because the employee had purported to have migraine and was thus medically certified to be unfit for screen handling. Nevertheless she was observed being active on Facebook obviously using a computer screen…

My advice in this matter: (1) always be honest to your employer and (2) think before you link a contact to your social network profile!