Fair use of trademarks: establishing boundaries in Russia


Alexey Zalesov and Tatiana Petrova

Russian courts have started to interpret the limits of exclusive and fair use of trademarks, as Alexey Zalesov and Tatiana Petrova report.

A fair balance between the interests of society and right holders is the object of legal regulation in the sphere of intellectual property. From this viewpoint, legal regulation of issues relating to fair use of a third party’s trademark appears to be of great interest. The fair use of a third party’s trademark implies an authorisation (with certain conditions) to use a trademark belonging to another person for the goods it was registered for.

This problem has been traditionally regarded as ‘the task of tasks’ for law makers and courts because of its complexity, and the inherent contradictions in the legal phenomenon of unapproved use of trademarks. The legal problem has been thoroughly worked through in IP laws of different countries. Russian IP law and practice leave a lot of unsolved problems in this area.

Russian law on trademarks incorporated in Part IV of the Russian Civil Code does not regulate the issue, with two exceptions: the national principle of exhaustion and the regulation of collisions between company names, trade names and trademarks.

fair use, Epson, technology