2010 20/07

More than a year Vitsiebsk human right activist Valery Misnikau and public activist Siarhey Kavalenka have been trying to force the winery “Dionis” (JLLC WP “Dionis”) to stop producing and realizing alcoholic beverage under the trade mark “BULBASH” on the territory of Belarus. Valery considers that the name of the liquor is a disrespectful and offensive nickname which humiliates national honor, Belarusian culture and also carries a hint of inferiority.

JLLC WP “Dionis”, the primary owner of the trade mark flatly refused to change the trade mark “BULBASH” referring to the fact that the certificate for this trade mark #25281 issued in June 2007 by the Belarusian State committee of science and technologies and National centre of intellectual property. Thus, vodka “BULBASH” started poisoning consciousness of many Belarusians who see the element of disrespect and humiliation of the whole nation in this word unlike “intellectuals” from the National centre. To tell more: there were several expert evaluations by the state expert and the representative of BLA (Belarusian Language Association) organized. Cand. Sc. (Philology) Aksana Shcharbakova who often acts as an expert at court sessions came to a conclusion that “the word “bulbash” in a modern Russian language has the following meanings: 1.The representative of indigenous Belarusian population (!). 2. The citizen of Republic of Belarus. The word “bulbash” doesn’t have negative meaning with no connection to context”. And here is the expert evaluation (“Philological reflection about trade mark “BULBASH”) prepared by public expert of BLA Can. Sc. (Philology) Piotr Sadousky, which contains quite the opposite conclusions and points at mistake approaches of Aksana Shcharbakova.

New interesting circumstances about “Bulbash” appeared recently. According to the agreement of absolute transfer of rights, on May 12, 2208 JLLC WP “Dionis” transferred “BULBASH” to LLC “Bulbash” (Riga) for USD 2000. And in two years on May 6, 2010 license agreement was signed between LLC “Bulbash” and JLLC WP “Dionis” about right to use trade mark “BULBASH” for identification “Dionis”’s products on the territory of Belarus.

But in the second half of 2008, in 2009 and in the beginning of 2010 “Dionis” was producing the liquor and distributed it on the territory of our country. Was the trade mark “BULBASH” used in Belarus illegally for almost two years? Why does Latvian company which lets using its intellectual property without any commercial profit keep silence? It seems like there is some other agreement there.

But let’s return to Misnikau who together with Kavalenka went to different instances several times, including court and prosecutor’s office. After denying initiation of civil action proceeding “M.Misnikau vs. trade mark “BULBASH” intellectual property panel of judges of the Supreme Court of Republic of Belarus finally decided to solve the issue. On July 5, 2010 without Misnikau and his witnesses who, by the way, were present in the building of the Supreme Court judges Dulub, Kartuz and Kazarezava adopted the court decision: “Deny issue of Valery Misnikau to JLLC WP “Dionis” about recognizing the trade mark “BULBASH” (certificate #25281) as contradictory to public order, humanity and moral principles; about imposing duties of trade mark’s defect liquidation by changing the trade mark; about stopping realization of the products with the mentioned trademark and about money compensation of moral damage.

Court decision goes to effect right after reading without appeal.

From the point of view of board of judges if a trade mark is registered in the State Register of trade marks and service marks it can be used. Now Belarusians got the legal opportunity to be called by a humiliating nickname of “bulbash”.

Also read at spring96.org and by.prava-by.info:

“Bulbash – citizen of Republic of Belarus?”

“Vitsebsk Citizen appealed in UNO Committee the illegibility for using brand “BULBASH”

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