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Yevroset Trademark Appeal Blocked

A Moscow court on Thursday abandoned a suit filed by Yevroset, Russia's largest mobile phone retailer, that sought to reverse a licensing watchdog's decision to prohibit the firm from attaining a trademark on a slang term.

The Moscow Arbitration Court abandoned the suit, which attempted to repeal a Federal Service for Intellectual Property decision to deny the company's application register the word "KHALYAVA," spelled in capital letters, as a trademark.

Khalyava is a slang Russian word etymologically linked to criminal lingo and can be translated as "freebie." The patent regulators said the word implies "the satisfaction of needs, getting something on someone else's expense, free of charge," and that such a trademark would go against the public interest, and therefore cannot be copyrighted.

The company's original trademark application was refused by the service in November 2008. Yevroset filed an appeal to the service's patent dispute chamber, claiming that the word implied a humorous meaning and could not go against the public interest, but the appeal was dismissed in November 2009.

The company appealed to the arbitration court earlier this year, but the case was abandoned, as the plaintiff failed to send a copy of the suit to the defendant, the court said in a statement late Wednesday, without indicating when the case would be heard again.

The company has been known for using controversial marketing materials before.

In 2007, Yevroset was fined 1 million rubles ($33,500) by Udmurtia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service for using slogans suggestive of words so obscene that public use of them has been banned by law.

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