Coca-Cola vs Fantola
The Coca-Cola Company defeated?
The Coca-Cola Company has lost a trademark dispute against Fantola. The Russian company Aqualife recently registered a handful of Fantola-trademarks for various snacks and beverages in Russia.
Coca-Cola argued that these Fantalo-trademarks are a violation of their much older Fanta-trademarks, as consumers might be confused about the commercial origin of beverages bearing the sign ‘Fantola’. In particular, consumers might think these Fantola-beverages originate from the Coca-Cola Company or an economically affiliated company.
Rather surprisingly, Aqualife managed to win the dispute before the Russian trademark office, Rospatent. Aqualife used data from an online poll to demonstrate that consumers would not be confused about the commercial origin of their beverages, while also claiming that Coca-Cola is abusing its dominant position.
Coca-Cola's trademark strategy
However, Fantola’s victory may be short-lived. Coca-Cola can still take the case to the Russian Intellectual Property Court, which we can fully expect them to do, as Coca-Cola generally enforces their trademark rights very extensively.
Coca-Cola not only aims to prevent consumer confusion but also actively tries to prevent dilution of their trademarks (in order to avoid their trademarks becoming generic, a process also referred to as “genericide”) and tries to protect their reputation.
Coca-Cola is also actively preventing dilution of their trademarks
In the past, Coca-Cola has already won cases against even worse odds. In 2017, they were even able to prevent the registration of a certain ‘Master’-trademark, simply because the trademark used a highly similar fond. This goes to show the extent of protection which the Coca-Cola trademarks have due to their widespread fame, making it easier for Coca-Cola to prove there is a likelihood of confusion for consumers.
We are already looking forward to the ruling of The Russian Intellectual Property Court!