Russia Profile: “Trademark Squatters Profit at the Expense of Multinationals“:
Starbucks is one of hundreds of foreign brands that have become targets of Russian trademark squatters. The American company first registered its trademark in the country in 1997, but did not open any stores here because of the economic crisis in 1998. The trademark was not used for three years after the registration and therefore became void. It was at this point that Sergei Zuykov, Russia’s most famous trademark squatter, stepped in and registered it in his name. In 2005, Zuykov suggested that Starbucks pay $600,000 for the right to use their name in Russia.
The dispute was on the agenda at WTO talks between Russia and the United States in fall 2005. According to unofficial reports, Arkady Volsky, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, met Zuykov to ask him to back down. “I didn’t meet Volsky,” Zuykov said. “I met his advisor, who said: ‘If you’re ready to give up all the claims, then you can go and shake Volsky’s hand.’ I didn’t want to shake hands with Volsky.”