Russian company secured Georgian Khvanchkara as its trademark
31 March, 2011
Russian company secured Georgian Khvanchkara as its trademark

While Georgian wine companies long for getting back to Russian market, a Russian-based Dozortsev & Sons company enjoys an exclusive right of distribution of one of the most famous Georgian wine Khvanchkara in the US market. The case smells of the forgery of legal papers.
Trade embargo imposed on Georgian wines and agriculture products that started in 2006, never hampered the Russian-based companies to get profit out of Georgian wines. They produce Georgian-branded wines in Russia for domestic use on

the one hand and on the other hand, some of them export famous wines produced in Georgia to the overseas market.
Early this March one of the Kremlin-connected company’ founded in Dagestan, a federal subject of Russia located in the North Caucasus region, asked official patent body of Russian federation to register ten famous brands of Georgian wines as its trademarks so as to enjoy sales of these brands within the Russian territory. Russian side neither approved nor turned down the application as of yet and disseminates information [through its media] that Russia prohibited not brands but Georgian wines produced in Georgia. And that Georgian wines produced and bottled in Russia are in sale without restriction.
A Russian-based company Dozortsev & Sons went as far as secured exclusive right of distribution of Georgian Khvanchkara, one of the most famous Georgian wine brands, harvested and produced in Georgia to the US market. The story traces back to the notorious year of 2006 when Russian sanitary service prohibited Georgian wines for allegedly quality problems.
Dozortsev & Sons  has been distributing Khvanchkara provided by its Georgian partner  Racha Wines [Racha is a highland region of Georgia where Khvanchkara grape is exclusively growing and the single place where Khvanchkara wine can be produced] to the US market starting  1999 of the past century. In 2004 Dozortsev & Sons asked the US patent body to register Khvanchkara as its trademark to enjoy by exclusive right of Khvanchkara distribution in America, but the American patent body refused for lack of legal backgrounds.
But in 2006 Dozortsev & Sons [that very likely disagreed with official Russian sanitary standpoint finding Georgian wine risky for health] presented a legal paper endorsed by Racha Wines on granting the exclusive right of Khvanchkara distribution to the US market and the US patent body approved the long-awaited request, Irakli Gvaladze, Head of Geopatent, Georgian national patent body explained to Georgian Journal.
And since then Dozortsev & Sons enjoyed the right of exclusive distribution of Khvanchkara at American market illicitly without the consent of Georgian state that is the legal owner of Khvanchkara trademark [as Khvanchkara is one of wine brands acknowledged as national intellectual property] and only state and not any wine company was mandated to dispose with the disposal rights of national geographic appellation.
The problem was that Georgia started registration of its intellectual property including wines only in 2010 and first of all it registered 18 geographic appellations of wines in the EU where Georgian wine brands were more frequently violated than in the US. Now Geopatent started works on registration of geographic appellations of those 18 wines including Khvanchkara in the US and no sooner it submitted an application they encountered that Dozortsev & Sons have an exclusive right on distribution of Khvanchkara to the US  market.  
“No wine company has either a moral or a legal right to handover this right to any other company,” Gvaladze accentuates.” I do not exclude that we have an affair with a forgery of legal papers and prosecutors’ office may get involved ultimately as far as representative of Racha Wine who allegedly endorsed the questioned paper asserts that he never signed any paper like this as Dozortsev claims. This man apparently lacks due English writing and speaking skills to either compose such an immaculate legal paper in English or even understand its content. But our primary goal is at the moment to get back this right and then let’s see how things develop.”
Georgian side has already hired an American advocate bureau to claim for its rights and carries out negotiations with the Dozortsev & Sons.
According to Paata Chavchanidze, Deputy Head of Samtrest, vine and wine department of Agriculture ministry, Dozortsev appears quite negotiable and very likely prefers to give the disputed right to Georgian side without court interference, but if he refuses Georgian state will go to court. And here, Andro Aslanishvili, a legal expert with Samtresti, assures Georgia will win without much quibbles. 
“We will raise a pursuit in two directions: who has registered the disputed trademark as the zone of origins, and where the geographic appellation of the disputed trademark is. And Dozortsev will lose for sure because the entire world acknowledges Khvanchkara as Georgian geographic appellation,” Aslanishvili told GJ. 
Dozortsev managed to register Georgian trademark in the US thanks to its liberal principles that unlike EU does not acknowledge geographic appellations and cares only for trademarks. America is not a member of Lisbon agreement protecting intellectual property rights, therefore it has simpler registration rules and when it registers trademarks it just announces of possible registration in its official bulletin and if nobody remonstrates within 3 months it approves the registration.
“However, it also fixes 5 year-term for possible protests and this deadline is not elapsed as of yet and we can claim our right over Khvanchkara trademark back,” Aslanishvili elaborates.

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