ARARAT vs. ARARAT NATURAL MINERAL SPARKLING WATER

On May 9, 2014 the Board of Appeal of the Latvian Patent Office examined the Opposition filed by the Armenian company Yerevan Brandy Company (hereinafter – “YBC”) against the Latvian designation of the international trademark registration No. 1107161 ARARAT NATURAL MINERAL SPARKLING WATER (fig.) of the Armenian company "ARARAT GROUP" LLC (hereinafter – the contested trademark). PETERSONA PATENTS represented the opponent - YBC - in this opposition matter. The opposition was based on well-known status of YBC’s trademark ARARAT with respect to brandy. It was argued that the contested trademark constituted a reproduction and imitation, liable to create confusion, of the well-known trademark ARARAT. The contested trademark was applied for dissimilar goods (mineral and aerated waters) however it was argued that the use of the opposed trademark in relation to these goods may be perceived by consumers as an indication of a connection between these goods and the owner of the well-known trademark, and that such use may be detrimental to the interests of YBC.


Having reviewed the case on the merits the Board of Appeal decided to satisfy the opposition only partially, i.e. the contested trademark was left valid with the following limitations: 1) the designation "ARARAT" was disclaimed from protection of this trademark registration and 2) the following limitation was applied to the list of goods in Class 32 of the contested trademark: "Mineral and aerated waters with the origin from Ararat region in Armenia".


On September 9, 2014 YBC (represented by PETERSONA PATENTS) filed an appeal before the Administrative District Court against the decision of the Board of Appeal claiming revocation of the decision and total invalidation of the Latvian designation of the international trademark registration No. 1107161 ARARAT NATURAL MINERAL SPARKLING WATER (fig.).


On December 11, 2015 the Administrative District Court adopted a judgement on total invalidation of the contested trademark in Latvia. The Court rejected the opinion that the word “ARARAT” indicates only to the geographical origin of the mineral and aerated waters under the contested trademark. According to the Court’s judgement the contested trademark ARARAT NATURAL MINERAL SPARKLING WATER (fig.) (IR No. 1107161) although registered with respect to natural mineral and aerated waters may create associations with the well-known “ARARAT” brand which may cause detriment to the owner of the trademark. Consequently, coexistence of these trademark registrations is not acceptable and the contested trademark was totally invalidated. In the court hearing the rights of the Armenian company Yerevan Brandy Company were represented by Gatis Meržvinskis, lawyer, Patent Attorney.