Russian Company Wants To Gift A Trademark For 'Chemical Production' On Two Accused Russian Assassins

from the say-what-now? dept

Strangest trademark story of the month? Strangest trademark story of the month! As you may have heard, back in March, a former Russian spy who had been a double agent for the UK, Sergei Skirpal (and his daughter), was poisoned in the UK with a nerve agent. Earlier this month, UK officials moved to charge two Russians with attempted murder over that event. They named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as being behind the plot. Along with the announcement, the Crown Prosecution Service admitted that it will not seek to extradite the men from Russia, as Russia will not extradite its own nationals.

Somewhat bizarrely, the two men (who many believe are not actually named Petrov and Boshirov) then decided to go on Russian TV to profess their innocence, claiming, improbably, that they were just tourists with no connections to Russian intelligence who had really wanted to go visit a cathedral in Salisbury where the attacks took place. A somewhat fascinating Bellingcat investigation has torn to shreds most of their story and suggested pretty strong evidence connecting them to the Russian government (and that their names are fake).

That TV interview has been mocked and described as a farce, but as the NY Times described, it may have been intentionally so, with the hope of mocking the west. And, that leads us to a story that's more normal for us around here: one about trademarks. Apparently, a Russian company, "Golden Brand," decided to apply for a trademark in the two suspects' "names" and (har har) have that trademark cover "production of chemical compounds and perfume." And the idea is that the trademark will then be handed over to the guys to do what they want with it. According to the Moscow Times:

Russia’s Golden Brand company has applied to trademark the phrase “Petroff & Boshiroff,” its spokesperson told The Moscow Times on Wednesday.

"After the name gets registered, we will gift it to Bashirov and Petrov, and they can start a company if they want,” a spokesperson for the company said.

"We did it as a marketing tool; it's good for public relations," she added.

The trademark will allow its holders to manufacture and sell industrial chemicals and perfume, as well as operate fitness centers and travel agencies

At least they admit it's a publicity stunt. But what a bizarre use of trademark. Trademark law in Russia may be different than elsewhere, but in the US, you're supposed to actually be intending to actually use the mark in commerce in order to register it. And, uh, while these two guys may have "used" a chemical, it wasn't in commerce (not to mention, they deny having done so). Also, if they wanted a trademark, they could file it for themselves, without needing some random company to file it for them. The whole story is obviously bizarre, but I didn't expect trademark to play a role in it.

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 6:23pm

    Capturing capitalism at its finest:

    at least as understood by a socialist trained capitalist.

    Petroff & Boshiroff may be trademarked in Russia with the limitations of:

    "The trademark will allow its holders to manufacture and sell industrial chemicals and perfume, as well as operate fitness centers and travel agencies"

    In Russia.

    But that won't prevent the next Ian Flemming, or John le Carré or Carl Hiassen or other from creating a slapstick comedy of how two Russian Laurel and Hardy wannabe's actually managed to accomplish a murder in the UK and at the same time enticed someone to make that it is likely the only way for it to be known...for anything...except killing.

    Like they wanted to be known, even if they didn't use their real names, they are now known. Suspecting for either of them to come forward for the ignominious fortunes redeemed by this trademark would be but a national camaraderie event. The FSB will be proud and totally understanding of making their business public.

    Oh, and let's not forget the scent. There was a perfume involved, wasn't there? That's gonna make some...erm...really high charts, of the kind of charts that are beneficial or something...wont' it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    seedeevee (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 8:01pm

    Probability and Improbability

    "claiming, improbably,"

    The claims these men make are the least improbable claims made in this entire episode.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 22 Sep 2018 @ 7:53am

    Make it so that if they ever step outside of Russia, they're apprehended and never see freedom again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 22 Sep 2018 @ 9:59am

    Ha, ha, very funny this trademark joke. How about we tell a good one in return? No Russian product may enjoy the protection of a trademark in the UK. Isn't that a great joke?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Buster Myth, 22 Sep 2018 @ 12:32pm

    Oy. Again repeating The Establishment's myths right out of NYT.

    There's not a bit of truth to the UK allegations. Anyone who's looked into that finds it's sheerly allegations -- with apparent purpose of ginning up war against Russia. No surprise that Masnick repeats it as if serious, though.

    Just for start: IF Russia wanted Skripal (whom they loosed from jail) dead, then WHY choose a method CERTAIN to indicate a state, and especially Russia? HMM? Why not the simple obvious way of ringing doorbell and hitting him over the head in privacy, messing up the house a little to make look like a thieve? HMM? -- In short, the whole story requires Russians to be absolutely stupid. -- And with that view in mind, then the use of nerve agent (which both recovered from) clearly shows intent to frame Russia. And not a very clever way, only good enough to fool masnicks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 22 Sep 2018 @ 3:34pm

    Perhaps they'll start "Petroff & Boshiroff Cathedral Tours"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stine, 22 Sep 2018 @ 6:47pm


    They're going to milk this for all its worth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 22 Sep 2018 @ 10:55pm

    Well, we already have Chemical Ali, why not Chemical Ivan?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 7:32am

    It's utterly ridiculous and yet not actually surprising. There is a culture in Russia of encouraging retribution to people viewed as traitors. It's not merely accepted; it's openly encouraged. Putin fosters this kind of mentality, and has very quickly quashed any detractors by having them murdered, thereby ensuring the only voices are the supportive ones.

    We are entering a period that could potentially be far more dark and devastating to our civilization than the Cold War would have been.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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