Apple fails to register its trademark in Russia: Reason is Samsung brand

December 13, 2022  12:52

Russian regulator Rospatent rejected Apple and did not register the trademark of “Center Stage” in Russia, because there is a registered trademark with similar sound and spelling, belonging to Samsung. This is not the first time Apple finds itself in this situation: earlier it was denied registration of the iPad trademark.

Apple was left without a brand

According to Cnews, the reason for the denial of registration was the similarity of the “Center Stage” brand with another brand, owned by Samsung, which Apple has been suing for years on the grounds of various patent infringements.

The brand in question is “Samsung CenterStage”. Despite the fact that the companies refer to completely different phenomena by virtually identical names, Rospatent decided to reject Apple.

The subject of the dispute

Apple planned to register the trademark Center Stage in Russia in the category of goods in Class 9 of the International Classification of Goods and Services (ICCS). In the current version of the IASB classification this class includes, among other things, downloadable computer software for use in video conferencing and video calls.

This Apple technology is directly related to video calling and online conferencing. It's a functional feature of the front camera on the latest Apple devices that always keeps the user in the center of the frame. “Center Stage” technology is based on machine learning algorithms. It premiered in 2021 in April and was first installed on the iPad Pro tablet.

Samsung's trademark, which is already listed in the Rospatent database, is called “Samsung CenterStage” and has nothing to do with the front-facing camera technology in the devices. Samsung's interactive showrooms are called “CenterStage”. 

Apple's arguments

Rospatent's experts concluded that the “Center Stage” brand is "confusingly similar" to “Samsung CenterStage”.

Apple tried to convince Rospatent that there were differences between the trademarks at least in terms of sound. The company also pointed to visual differences.

Apple also tried to emphasize that these are different services. The company's final argument was that different fonts were used in the official letter of the two brands, which, according to the company, created visual differences between them. However, all of Apple's arguments to prove its case were fruitless.

Not the first case

Apple has already faced problems with registration of its trademark in Russia. The most famous case occurred in 2012 in November, when the company was denied registration of theiPad” trademark.

Then the Chamber for Patent Disputes denied the company. In addition, it was not Apple's application for registration of the trademark “iPad” in Russia that was rejected, but the company's complaint against Rospatent, which refused to register the trademark “iPad” in Russia.

Thus, this was Apple's second attempt to protect its trademark, which ended in failure. It all started in 2010, when Apple filed its first application to Rospatent for registration of the trademark "iPad" in Russia in the category of goods of class 9.

In 2019, Apple found itself in a similar situation again, when Rospatent rejected the company's application to register the trademark for its augmented reality (AR) technology in Russia.

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