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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Live better, live dangerously: slogans in Russia

"Save money. Live better" is a slogan that is difficult to ignore, even if you (i) already have pots of cash, (ii) live in the lap of luxury" and (iii) have a lifestyle combines a maximum of health with a cornucopia of pleasure. Walmart likes it too, which is why the US-based retail giant uses it as a tag to attract shoppers who might otherwise think the unthinkable and do their shopping elsewhere, for reasons of political conviction, convenience or whatever.

It is not recorded whether Russian supermarket mega-chain Maria-Ra likes "Save money. Live better", but the IPKat gathers that the chain has quite taken a fancy to a Russian slogan which comes out in English as "Pay less. Live better”, for which it sought trade mark registration [Merpel was initially a little startled by this latter slogan, since "Pay less" sounds to her a little like earning less pay, and thus not living better unless someone else is buying all the drinks].  Walmart filed an opposition, which the Russian Patent Disputes Chamber dismissed.

According to the Chamber, the literal translation of Walmart’s “Save money” in Russian is “Keep Money” or “Economize money”. On this basis, the words “Save money” would never translate to “Pay less”. Accordingly Maria-Ra's mark wasn't causing anyone any trouble. To be on the safe side, the Chamber added that the two slogans did not even resemble one another in their design.

The IPKat is a great enthusiast when it comes to the registration of slogans as trade marks, but only when they are truly distinctive. When he sees trite, banal puffs and slogans like "Save money. Live better" or, for that matter, "Pay less. Live better", he has to repress a powerful urge to wish a plague on all the houses of those who seek to monopolise them.

How to solve a problem like Maria here

Source: Petosevic got this from the Altapress.ru news portal and Rospatent

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is mighty Merpel aware of the very large North American shoe store chain called PAYLESS?

http://www.payless.com

David Thomas said...

I'm ambivalent about the idea that the either slogan lacks distinctiveness. A slogan, even a simple slogan, can surely acquire distinctiveness as easily as can a word, a simple picture, a shape, or even a colour.

One must not, in my view, confuse simplicity and a lack of exoticism for a lack of distinctiveness - the best and most recognisable slogans are both simple and use language which isn't tortured.

Indeed, I think it's the stark simplicity of the phrase which makes it distinctive. And of course the fact that a slogan doesn't identify an undertaking doesn't mean that it doesn't distinguish it.

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