Seattlepi.com reports on the representative of the owner owner of the Russian Starbucks trade mark – Sergei Zukyov. Although the American Starbucks company filed its name as a trade mark in 1997, the mark was cancelled for non-use. This allowed the company Zukyov represents to step in and register the mark. Now it is asking for $600,000 for the mark to be handed over to the American company. Zukyov takes the attitude that while this type of activity isn’t fair, it is legal.
The IPKat is somewhat ambivalent on this issue. On the one hand, the need for “use” to maintain registration is sensible. On the other hand, overzealous application of the requirement can allow third parties to take advantage of unused famous marks or pushes famous mark-owners into entering markets before they are ready to do so. The IPKat suspects that the answer lies in protection against bad faith registration. Not only are such third parties registering with the intent to take advantage of the earlier mark, but also, they do not have bona fide intent to use the famous mark as a trade marks for the goods or services for which it is registered.