Russia OKs Use Of Peppa Pig TM As Sanctions Retaliation

Law360 (March 11, 2022, 6:37 PM EST) -- A Russian court will continue to let an "entrepreneur" use a Hasbro Inc. unit's "Peppa Pig" and "Daddy Pig" trademarks, without pay or the company's consent, saying the action is justified by the sanctions being piled on by the U.K. and other Western countries.

Judge Andrei Pavlovich Slavinsky said the "restrictive" political and economic sanctions levied on Russia and its officials for their military invasion of Ukraine allow it to refuse the infringement claims brought by Entertainment One UK Ltd.

The ruling was published on March 3, a few days before the Russian government issued a decree allowing the use of patented inventions, utility models and industrial designs from "unfriendly countries" without remuneration or permission. That list of countries includes the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Arbitration Court of the Kirov Region, which is about 600 miles northeast of Moscow, said that the sanction "circumstances are well known" and that they prejudice the dispute. The Russian-language ruling points to "unfriendly actions of the United States of America and affiliated foreign countries."

The sanctions against Russia allow the court not to protect Entertainment One's trademark rights under the country's arbitration procedure code, Judge Slavinsky said. Entertainment One's case was an "abuse of right" and is therefore dismissed, he said.

The court is the lowest level for civil economic disputes, according to Russia's Korpus Prava Law Firm.

Entertainment One had asked for 40,000 rubles in its Sept. 8 claim, which as of Friday is equivalent to around $300 or £230. At the time, it was closer to $550 or £400. The complaint was brought against Ivan Vladimirovich Kozhevnikov, who is described solely as an "entrepreneur," in the hopes of protecting trademark rights for drawings of the beloved children's cartoon characters.

The U.K. company has a month from the issuance to appeal to the Second Arbitration Appellate Court in Kirov.

The ruling was noted by Kyiv-based Twitter user @Oh_89 on Friday, and then confirmed by Law360 on the court's website. The online docket does not have a copy of the claim Entertainment One filed.

Representatives for Hasbro did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

While economic sanctions against Russia have not focused on patents, the U.S. and European patent offices have cut off their work with Russia's agency, Rospatent. The Ukrainian patent office, Ukrpatent, on the other hand, has received letters of support from Lithuania, Finland, Austria, Slovakia, Poland and the European Union's patent agencies.

The case is number А28-11930/2021 in the Arbitration Court of the Kirov Region.

--Editing by Peter Rozovsky.

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