Apple is a worldwide brand that unquestionably relied a lot on marketing and greatly succeeded in it. The results demonstrated themselves. This year, according to Fortune, Apple took the first spot for the 12th consecutive year of the world’s admired company. That is to say, brand’s consumers are looking for Apple’s goods not only for their intrinsic characteristics, but also, and perhaps most of all because of the brand image. Therefore, Apple obviously try to protect all around the world everything that conveys this brand image, in particular its miscellaneous trademarks.
However, in November 2018, The Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, commonly known as Rospatent, refused to grant the registration of its square frame trademark “AR”, which stands for augmented reality.
Rospatent explained in greater detail that the refusal was due to the fact that a trademark “AR” has already been registered in 2013 before being once again registered in 2016, but this time with a square frame form. Unlike in the Apple’s version, “AR” stands in this version for “Airports of Regions”, owned by a Russian company with 4 airports and building 3 more and held by JSC Management company. Also, another sign used in Apple’s trademark belongs to a Belgian developer involved as well in the augmented reality’s sector. On top of that, both of these trademarks were registered in the same "software" category.
The American company appealed the decision before the Chamber of patent disputes, that was rejected as well, the applicant’s claims.
Before both jurisdictions, Apple did not even try to contest the similarity of the aforementioned trademarks but rather the opposite. Apple offered both instances to recognize that all registered marks with the AR element should cease to be protected by law. Indeed, Apple argued that the term “AR” should not be registerable by anyone as it is a common term already used by a lot of companies. Apple also explained that its trademark, although similar to the other ones, is deemed to be used with different types of goods and services. Ultimately, it appears these arguments did not convince the court.