Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
27 June 2003
Hearing Officer
Mr J MacGillivray
Aktsionernoe Obchtchestvo Otkritogo Tipa Moskovsky Zavod “Kristall”
Spirits International N.V.
Sections 3(1)(b) & 3(1)(c)


Section 3(1)(b): - Opposition failed.

Section 3(1)(c): - Opposition failed.

Points Of Interest

  • 1. None


The opponents claimed that the mark in suit would be recognised by Russian people living in the UK or those who have acquired knowledge of the Russian language, as a translation from Cyrillic characters into English words meaning OLD MOSCOW. Thus the mark would be seen as descriptive in the sense of vodka made to an old or traditional recipe made in Moscow rather than as an indication of trade origin.

The applicants disputed that the mark was descriptive. They pointed out that OLD is not a word used to describe vodka or is required by other traders since vodka does not improve with age. In fact it is best consumed within a year of manufacture. Thus STARAYA is fanciful in relation to vodka.

The Hearing Officer considered it likely that MOSCOW would have a reputation for vodka but not for other alcoholic spirits. In any event he must consider the mark as a whole and as STARAYA (meaning OLD) appeared to be fanciful for vodka it appeared to him that the mark was not descriptive in the way claimed by the opponents. He thus considered that the mark was not barred from registration by Section 3(1)(c).

As the mark was not descriptive, it was not without distinctive character and thus not caught by the prohibition of Section 3(1)(b). Opposition thus failed on both grounds.

Full decision O/184/03 PDF document26Kb