Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property has rejected an attempt by Moscow-based M-Groupp to trademark the word “Bitcoin” in the country.
‘Bitcoin’ Trademark Rejected
The patent agency, commonly known as Rospatent has confirmed the rejection of a request on behalf of “M-Groupp” to register “Bitcoin” as a trademark, reports Rapsinews. The company filed the request in relation to the 36th and 38th classes of the International Classification of Goods and Services (NICE) for financial services and telecommunications, respectively.
Rospatent declined the trademark request, explaining that “Bitcoin” relates to the name of the electronic payments system that uses the virtual currency of the same name. It also reminded that the digital currency was created and introduced to the public in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto and Gavin Andresen. Moreover, it was used by various organizations working with digital currencies long before M-Groupp attempted to patent this brand, according to the official statement from Rospatent.
The agency noted “Bitcoin” is a widely accepted term in the sphere of finance and economics as well as services related to the 38th NICE service class since a digital payments system relies on telecommunications infrastructure.
Therefore, the company’s request cannot be legally protected for the requested 36th and 38th service classes, according to the agency. Moreover, such a trademark would also confuse consumers when dealing with an organization providing these services, based on item 3, article 1483 of the Russian Federation’s Civil Code.
Arguments for Filing
M-Groupp, on the other hand, argued that the “filed trademark ‘Bitcoin’ is not included in dictionaries, reference books, encyclopedias, and other credible information sources.” Additionally, the applicant also cited trademarks of popular digital payments services, which are legally protected on the territory of the Russian Federation in relation to 36th and 38th service classes such as “WEBMONEY,” “Yandex-Money,” “QIWI-Wallet,” as well as classifications of existing currency names such as “Dollar” and “Gulden.”
The company also pointed out Bitcoin’s partial nature as a currency is completely virtual and is not even recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 4217), not to mention the All-Russian Classifier of Currencies. Finally, information supporting Bitcoin’s creation in 2009 by Satoshi and Andresen comes solely from the internet and has never been verified, claimed the applicant.
While Bitcoin is not officially banned in Russia, the country is considered to be a hostile environment for the digital currency in light of the anticipated ban and criminal penalties related to Bitcoin activity. Nevertheless, the Bank of Russia as well as the country’s largest commercial bank Sberbank have expressed interest in researching Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology.
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