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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rival Papers Take Logo Battle to Court

The daily newspaper Izvestia and the upstart Novye Izvestia, or New Izvestia, locked horns Monday in a legal dispute over the way the new paper is using one of Russian publishing's best-known logos.

Izvestia says it doesn't mind the new newspaper's use of the word, which means "news" in Russian, but the style and lettering its editors adopted when they started the new paper is just too similar.

The initial clash in a Moscow arbitration court Monday was brief -- it was adjourned to give specialists time assess how similar the logos are and whether they could cause confusion -- but the dispute could drag on for some time.

"This is an elementary defense of a trademark. We are not carping about the word 'Izvestia;' we are carping about the form [in which it is printed]," said Dmitry Murzin, president of Izvestia Co.

Murzin contends that there has been notable public confusion over the similarity in the two logos, even though Novye Izvestia adds the word "new" to the title, and prints it red and blue instead of black and white.

Murzin said that the claim was not related to the Izvestia shareholding dispute that prompted some disgruntled editors and reporters to leave and start Novye Izvestia.

"We are not suggesting that the paper should be banned. All we suggest is the change of the trademark or logo," he said.

Novye Izvestia was founded by Igor Golembiovsky, the former editor in chief of Izvestia, who walked out last year after losing a bitter battle over control of the newspaper when LUKoil and Uneximbank acquired a major stake.

Golembiovsky, now the editor of Novye Izvestia, insisted Monday that the logos are far too different for Izvestia to have a winning case.

The Novye Izvestia logo uses a different typeface, although some of the letters have very similar shapes. The letters in Novye Izvestia's logo also are distinguished by borders and drop-shadows, in addition to being in color, and the first and last letters are taller. When Novye Izvestia appeared Nov. 1, it became Russia's first color daily newspaper.

Golembiovsky said that, while he is confident he can win his case, he is concerned about the "time, energy and money," it will cost the fledgling newspaper.

"We have consulted numerous lawyers, and they say it is absolutely unreal for Izvestia to win the case," he said. "The word 'izvestia' cannot be prohibited, and the images are not identical."

"From the legal point of view we can't lose this case." he said. "But you know that anything can happen in our arbitration courts."

Should Novye Izvestia lose the case, Golembiovsky said, it technically could lead to further court claims regarding business losses caused by the similarities in logotypes.

Murzin said that so far no research has been done into potential losses that might have resulted from the similarities in the two logos, and that the company currently has no plans to press further claims.

"But if needed, it will be very simple. All we have to do is trace back the distribution figures at the locations were Novye Izvestia is distributed, too," Murzin said.