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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yet Another Gallup Eyes Moscow Market

The Gallup Organization of Princeton, New Jersey, is planning to open a Moscow office some time in the next few years, a vice president of the polling and research giant said this week.

But whether Gallup sets up a joint venture — perhaps with its sometime-local partner, the COMCON research group, or perhaps with some other local market player — or whether the American company goes it alone, having yet another Gallup on the market will be sure to cause more trademark disputes over the Gallup name.

Robert Manchin, vice president of the Gallup Organization, said his company’s global strategy is "to cover the whole world with our own offices," adding, "We see ourselves in the Russian market in one to three years from now."

That global strategy pits the Princeton-based Gallup Organization — which was founded by George Gallup, a pioneer in public opinion polling and market research — against the London-based Gallup International.

The London company is about twice the size of the Princeton company, and it was set up in 1947 with George Gallup as its first president. After his death, however, the London and Princeton organizations fell out.

Over the past eight years, the American Gallup Organization — which includes among its managers George Gallup’s sons Alec and George — has sued the British group, alleging improper use of the Gallup family name, but with no success.

In the Russian market, meanwhile, ownership of the Gallup name is even murkier. The American Gallup Organization has talked of also taking on some of those local Gallup companies in trademark disputes.

The Gallup trademark was registered in the former Soviet Union by one of Gallup International’s 55 members, the Finnish company Suomen Gallup.

Suomen Gallup has been an umbrella organization in Russia for several local research companies, including Gallup Media, Gallup TV Research and Gallup St. Petersburg.

But the Finnish company is also a member of Gallup International, which moved on its own into the Russian market in 1994, arranging as its local representative the ROMIR research group.

Suomen Gallup’s daughter Gallup Media in particular has built a major business franchise over the past decade in the local market, and its directors are neither terribly pleased nor terribly concerned at the idea of the American giant now moving in.

"We entered the market even before ROMIR or any other company," said Gallup Media director Vladimir Grodsky.

"It’s a stale story," agreed Alexander Kostyuk, marketing director with Gallup Media. "[The American Gallup group] lost an international suit, so nobody treats their [trademark] claims seriously."

Manchin of the American Gallup Organization said his company is already in a legal dispute with local Gallups. But Kostyuk denied any knowledge of it.

ROMIR spokeswoman Natalya Laidinen, meanwhile, said a Lithuanian court had prohibited Suomen Gallup from using the Gallup name in that country. Laidinen said she expected similar rulings against Suomen Gallup in Finland, too.

But Grodsky from Gallup Media said he knew nothing about any Lithuanian court decision, and he said that Suomen Gallup still runs SIC Gallup Media in Lithuania. He also said ROMIR had never minded riding on the Gallup name when it had owned a third of Gallup Media, and only raised its voice in protest after it had sold its stakes to Suomen Gallup.

"In any case, our business will not be hurt," Grodsky said. Gallup Gallup International Gallup Media