Samsung has so far fended off attempts by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to keep it from selling Galaxy devices in Europe — but now it has another foe slamming its Galaxy brand, this time in Russia.
This time around, Apple is well clear of the case: Simbirsk-Crown, a Volga-based manufacturer, is attempting to get Samsung to cease and desist in using the brand name Galaxy. Simbirsk-Crown uses the Galaxy name for a line of home appliances, which it has been selling for the past two years. The company says the products bring in several million pounds of revenue each year.
Ironically, the news of the legal action comes to light on the same day that Samsung began to sell its newest tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, in the country.
According to an article in the Russian financial daily Vedomosti, Simbirsk-Crown registered the Galaxy trademark in Russia in May 2011, covering several classes of products numbered between seven and 11, and 21. Samsung, meanwhile, has registered the names Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S in July 2011 under one of those as well, class 9, which also covers mobile devices including smartphones in addition to other electrical goods.
Sergei Zuykov, a lawyer for the Simbirsk-Crown, tells Vedomosti that Samsung using Galaxy in Russia is a violation of Russian civil code number 1484, covering the exclusive right to a trademark.
The company has sent a letter to Samsung demanding compensation of $90 million, and has also sent legal letters of complaint to several retailers selling Samsung’s products, each requesting compensation of 100 million rubles ($3.47 million). These sums are calculated by doubling the estimated cost of Galaxy goods sold in Russia in 2010-2011, the article notes.
As in the case in the Netherlands yesterday, Samsung’s legal team are dismissing the claims for now.
Vedomosti quotes Samsung’s legal rep in the country, Vladimir Biryulin, saying that while it was aware of the complaint, Samsung believes it is in legal standing.
He notes that the same brand name can be registered in the same class by two different companies if the products they refer to cannot be confused. In effect, the Patent Office already approved Samsung’s application, so that is that.
But given that Samsung itself manufacturers a lot more than just phones — including home appliances — there could well be a case for demonstrating confusion, if Simbirsk-Crown continues with its actions.