MOSCOW. Russia has banned a firm from registering as a trademark a brand of vodka whose name appears to play on the names of its ruling duo, Vedomosti business daily reported on Tuesday.
Russia's patent agency refused to allow a company to register as a trademark the name "Volodya and Medvedi," with Volodya a diminutive of Vladimir, and Medvedi, or bears, sounding similar to the surname Medvedev, it reported.
The bear is also the symbol of the ruling United Russia party.
The brand name "is assessed as a contemptuous attitude to the authorities," the agency said, turning down an appeal by the company, Royalti, which argued the name referred to Russia's most popular name and to fairytales.
The brand name has already been registered in Ukraine by a different company, and will shortly go on sale in Russian supermarkets, the newspaper reported, citing a vice-president of the company, Vineksim.
Vineksim already sells a popular vodka brand called Putinka.
The flamboyant leader of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, launched a vodka brand named after himself in 1994, but it is no longer on sale.