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Finnish dairy fends off Russian grandma's butter threat

Back in October 2014, Valio LLC -- the Russian subsidiary of Finnish dairy manufacturer Valio Oy, initiated unfair competition proceedings against its Russian competitor Traditsia LLC on the ground that Traditsia’s butter design (illustrated on the right) infringed its trade dress. While there is no legal definition of trade dress in Russian law, its trade mark law and unfair competition law provide a legal basis for protection against copycat packaging or trade dress infringement (a new version of the unfair competition law, which embraces trade dress, enters into force this month).

According to Valio, Traditsia's packaging for butter “Baba Valya” (Russian for "Granny Valya") emulated its own product, illustrated on the left.. Traditsia launched “Baba Valya” packaging in October 2014 and then, in August 2015, Traditsia applied to register a corresponding trade mark (no. 2015725932).

Since consumers typically focus on the most striking elements of a product's trade dress, particularly its colours and graphics, Valio maintained that the similarity of the two butter designs would cause consumer confusion. The results of a comparative analysis revealed that the colours and the compositional arrangements were almost identical. The St Petersburg branch of thev Federal Antimonopoly Service conducted an opinion poll through its website, which indicated that 58 percent of consumers found there to be a high level of similarity between the two packages. According to a Valio press release:

“We have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that butter ‘Baba Valya’ has nothing to do with the Valio product, but we continue to receive complaints from people that mistakenly purchased the product whose wrapper resembles the packaging of the legendary butter Valio. But the high quality of the product cannot be obtained just by copying the design".

The Russian competition regulator’s decision against Traditsia was issued last month on the basis of Article 14(1) of the Law on Protection of Competition. The decision may however be appealed.

Source: "Finnish Dairy Producer Valio Wins Trade Dress Lawsuit Against Russian Competitor", prepared by Alla Prikhodko for Petosevic News & Resources.

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 11.46
Tags: Russia, lookalike packaging, unfair competition,
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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