On December 18, 2020, the Russian Intellectual Property Court fully satisfied the claim of Mojang Synergies AB and Microsoft against the Russian company City LLC to annul the registration of the Minecraft trademark.
The Swedish company Mojang released Minecraft in 2009 and was acquired by Microsoft in 2014. Also, in 2014 City LLC received registration for the Minecraft trademark on the territory of Russia in respect of classes 25, 32, 33, and 41.
The company had planned to launch children’s whey juice drinks under the Minecraft brand, but was unable to do so “due to various circumstances”. According to the defendant, he immediately offered Microsoft to produce dairy drinks under the Minecraft brand, but did not receive a response from Microsoft and applied for trademark registration.
In 2016, Microsoft offered to buy out the rights to the trademark, but City again offered to work on the franchise, and Microsoft refused this option.
In 2020, Microsoft, together with its subsidiary Mojang Synergies AB, filed a lawsuit demanding the early termination of the legal protection of the Minecraft trademark in respect of class 25 and 41.
In its response to the lawsuit, the defendant confirmed that due to the market situation, it was decided not to release products marked with TM Minecraft.
Microsoft pointed out in its lawsuit that there are about 2 million users of the Minecraft game in Russia alone, and the popularity was also confirmed by the materials of a sociological survey.
The presence of the City trademark prevented applicants from independently using the Minecraft designation for class 25 goods and 41 class services, registering relevant goods in their name, as well as their sales in Russia – branded clothing, official Minecraft books, and their advertising.