The New York Times calls him a former “car alarm salesman turned trademark squatter,” but Sergei Zuykov believes he does not assume the right for brands of foreign corporations. He has found himself on the front line of the struggle for intellectual property rights, growing more contentious as Russia is on the threshold of entering the World Trade Organization. The companies owning the brands with the same names that Zuykov has registered in Russia believe he is in the wrong.
For Seattle-based Starbucks Corporation, famous for its coffee beverages, Zuykov has for a long time represented a barrier to entry on the Russian market. This Russian lawyer who registered the Starbucks brand for himself said he acted in accordance with Russian laws. These laws in no way contradict the U.S. legislature in this sphere. It is the Americans, Zuykov says, who invented annulling rights for brands which are effective when a brand is not used for a period of time in a certain territory.
Starbucks registered its trademark in Russia when the company was not interested in entering the country’s market, and it was annulled, Zuykov told The Moscow News. Everyone could follow in his footsteps. After learning that the brand is not used in Russia it can be annulled in the chamber on patent disputes. Then anyone can register the brand under his own name. The registration costs some $20.
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