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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Today Mired in Trademark Fight

Itar-TassRussiatoday.com wants Russia Today television yanked off the U.S. airwaves.
A U.S. company is demanding that U.S. cable providers stop broadcasting Russia Today television after the channel's trademark application was rejected in the United States.

IPD Group, which runs Russiatoday.com, said in a statement Wednesday that it had sent letters to U.S. cable providers Comcast and Intelsat, among others, demanding that they pull Russia Today from the air because of trademark infringement.

The U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office refused to register Russia Today a trademark last month because Russiatoday.com had rights to the name.

Russia Today brushed off the provisional ruling, calling it "part of normal procedure." The channel, which received notification from the U.S. body on April 24, has six months to prove it is a "unique brand," a channel spokeswoman said Thursday. "We don't believe we have broken any rules," she said. "This process is just a matter of time."

The English-language satellite channel was launched by the state in 2005 to improve Russia's image abroad. Russiatoday.com was set up in 1996 as a clearinghouse for Russia-related news.

An Intelsat spokesman said the company would not comment until it received "full information." Comcast could not be reached for comment.

Brigid Quinn, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office, said possible trademark infringements are argued in court "on a case-by-case basis." "It is up to the company that has a registered trademark to incite legal proceedings," Quinn said.

Last year Russiatoday.com said it had been asked by Russia Today to prove that it had authorization from the Russian government to use the word "Russia" in its name. In May 2006, the State Duma passed a law forbidding Russian nonstate media organizations from using the word "Russia" in their names.