The US soft-drinks giant quit the country in 2022 after the start of the Ukraine conflict FILE PHOTO. © Scott Olson / Getty Images

Coca-Cola has submitted applications to Russia’s intellectual property service, Rospatent, to register several trademarks in the country, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Friday.

The American soft-drinks giant, which had operated in Russia for over four decades, pulled out of the country in March 2022 due to Western sanctions linked to the Ukraine conflict.

The Atlanta-based company is now reportedly seeking to register three brands in Russia – Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Sprite, Vedomosti wrote, citing Rospatent’s database. The application, submitted in April, relates to the manufacture of soft beverages, alcoholic drinks, soda, and other products.

The move could mean that Coca-Cola is planning to return to the Russian market in the future, patent experts told Forbes. Under Russian law, trademarks may be canceled if unused for three years. Given that Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta quit the market in 2022, their legal protection could be terminated next year, and the US firm wants to secure the rights to its brands, the publication wrote.

Western firms ‘backtracking’ on Russia exit plans – FT Western firms ‘backtracking’ on Russia exit plans – FT

Coca-Cola had been present in Russia since 1980, when it was made available during the Olympic Games held that year in Moscow. In 1990, it was made available at the first McDonald’s restaurant in the Soviet Union. Large-scale production of the beverage in Russia started in 1992, right after the collapse of the USSR.

Before its exit in 2022, the US company had operated 10 factories in Russia, producing soft drinks including Fanta, Sprite and Schweppes, along with local brands.

After the firm quit, its Russian branch changed its name and started producing a cola-flavored beverage called Dobry Cola at factories that had belonged to Coca-Cola HBC Russia, the bottler of the original drink.

The Dobry Cola brand increased its market share from 2.8% to 25% in monetary terms from 2022 to 2023, becoming the most popular soft drink in the country. During the same period, the share of the original Coca-Cola, imported to Russia via third countries, dropped six-fold, RBK news daily reported earlier this year, citing data from research company Ntech.

US coffeehouse chain Starbucks has also reportedly submitted applications to Rospatent to register several trademarks Russia.

Swedish multinational conglomerate IKEA reportedly extended its trademark rights in Russia for ten years earlier this year.

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