On March 21, 2018, the Russian Supreme Court published its Decision in case No. A55 5711/2014, which may have a dramatic impact on resolution of trademark non-use disputes.
Under the merits of the case, Heineken filed a non-use claim against Samarskiy Vodochnyi Zavod based on its failure to use the trademark Volzhskaya Okhota for 3 consecutive years.
Initially, the claim was addressed to the IP Court, which usually acts as a first instance court for non-use claims. Later, the case as an exception was transferred to the Commercial Court of Samara Region to be decided within the framework of a bankruptcy case initiated a few years ago against the Respondent. The change of venue was reasoned by the presumption that termination of the trademark may reduce the amount of bankruptcy assets thus negatively affecting the creditors’ rights (following another precedent IP Court’s Decision in case No. SIP-360/2016, dated November 23, 2016).