By posting this open letter we make an appeal to the entire professional community; we intend to inform the interested industry society that on November 27, 2019, the arbitration court held a hearing on the lawsuit filed by DLG Company regarding the legitimacy of using the AgroFarm trademark (based on a sublicense agreement) by VDNH during the process of organizing and holding the exhibition under the same name. The court refused to satisfy the claims of DLG Company. This decision contradicts the information disseminated by DLG earlier, that VDNH has been using the trademark of AGROFARM illegally during the process of organizing the exhibition under the same name.
For 13 years since the exhibition was founded in 2006, VDNH JSC and the DLG Group of Сompanies have successfully organized a joint project – the AgroFarm exhibition, implementing it guided by the principles of openness and consideration of mutual interests. On July 14, 2006, an agreement between GAO VVC (successor of VDNH JSC) and DLG Agriservice GmbH (member of DLG Group) was concluded, the main purpose of which was to resolve the issues of using the jointly created AgroFarm brand.
The terms of the contract that is currently in force provided for exclusively joint use of the brand by the parties; according to the contract, its independent use by one of the parties is possible only by means of repurchasing.
However, in 2009 and 2011, violating the terms of the contract, DLG Group registered the rights to the AgroFarm/АгроФерма trademarks (certificates No. 411493, 427931, 530422 and 527886). The indicated trademarks consist of graphic elements the composition of which includes the verbal mark: AgroFarm in Latin characters and АгроФермаin Cyrillic, which, as stated in the certificates, is unprotected (due to the fact that it is a generally accepted/widespread use of the label).
At the same time, the verbal label AGROFARM, similar to the name of the exhibition, is absent in the above mentioned certificates, it has not been provided with any legal protection, which, by virtue of Article 1483 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, allows its legal use.
Despite the high financial performance of the exhibition, alongside well the prospects for its further growth, on May 28, 2019 VDNH JSC received a letter from DLG Group notifying of termination of cooperation (termination of previously concluded agreements) without any explanation of reasons provided thereby. Numerous attempts by VDNH JSC management to arrange joint meetings with B. Koch, manager of DLG Group in order to find out the reasons for making the decision mentioned above, as well as to develop mutually beneficial options for pre-trial settlement of disputed issues, were left unanswered. Moreover, the management of a DLG Group subsidiary community, (DLG RUS LLC) expressed an opinion that such meetings are not required. Besides, DLG RUS LLC initiated litigation processes within the framework of which VDNH JSC declared its counterclaims for the AgroFarm/АгроФерма trademarks.
However, the court did not uphold the DLG RUS LLC claims: The published decision of the Moscow City Arbitration Court of December 4, 2019 was: “lawsuit adjudicated completely”.
VDNH is a historical venue for holding
national agricultural exhibitions
In addition, it should be noted that for decades VDNH has been the place where key experts in the industry met and demonstrated outstanding achievements in their field. It is a unique place where cutting-edge achievements of science and cultural traditions harmoniously merge, an area for comfortable leisure time and for effective congress and exhibition activities.
Since 2007, AGROFARM Exhibition at VDNH has been successfully maintaining its status of the federal level event. Its organizers have been working on creating a comfortable business environment for Russian and foreign manufacturers in every area of cattle farming and other related sectors, manufacturers of equipment and technologies, specialists of agricultural holdings and farms.
VDNH is planning to maintain its position, fully preserve the concept of the exhibition and hold it at the highest level, as always. The 14th season of the AGROFARM exhibition will be traditionally held in the 75th Pavilion of VDNH on February 4–6, 2020.
AGROFARM-2020 will be held with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Association of Peasant (Farm) Farms and Agricultural Cooperatives of Russia (AKKOR), the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Agricultural Economics (FSBI Federal Research Center) VNIIESKh), Russian State Agrarian University – Moscow Agricultural Academy named after K.A. Timiryazev.
AGROFARM participants and guests of the VDNH Exhibition of Economic Achievements will have a chance to see an interesting exposition created in active cooperation with the largest Russian associations, including the National Union of Milk Producers, the National Union of Pig Breeders, the National Association of Cattle Producers, Head Center for Reproduction of Farm Animals, the National Union of Sheep Breeders, the National Union of Rabbit Breeders, and the Federal Scientific Center for Bee-farming.
In 2020 the key topics of discussion will include: the prospects for development of the Russian countryside and transformation of livestock support mechanisms. An extensive business program on the development of dairy and beef cattle breeding, poultry farming, pig breeding, rabbit breeding, horse breeding, aquaculture and beekeeping is being developed with the support of core-business departments of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, branch associations, major research institutes and organizations, involving leading Russian and foreign industry experts. The Interfaks news agency and the Rossiyskaya Gazeta, publication of the Government of the Russian Federation, act as the general partner and the strategic information partner of the business program.
Preserving traditions, AGROFARM-2020 will present an extensive competitive program, as a result of which the best developments in the field of animal husbandry in such nominations as Best Product, Best Scientific Development and Best Service will be chosen. Once again, specifically for the AGROFARM exhibition, a riding arena – a show ring will be built at VDNH, where the series of demonstration events and practical workshops in animal care will take place. A special Farmer’s Business School venue will continue its operation.
As always, a number of debuts await the guests and participants of the AGROFARM exhibition. In 2020, for the first time, AGROFARM organizes a business mission for farmers throughout all regions of Russia to participate in the exhibition with the intentions to study new offers in the industry market and inform the small and medium-sized businesses about the procedure of using all forms of agricultural support, including those offered within the Agro-startup program. We are planning to hold a federal farmers’ festival, which will present the best farm products and regional Russian brands to public. By including in the AGROFARM program events which imply a wide representation of farmers we shall form a qualitative audience of the exhibition.
It should be noted that even today we have new status partners that will enrich and significantly expand the exhibition resources. This will provide the AGROFARM exhibition at VDNH a chance to become a place of decision-formation and decision-making, it will help to reveal the capabilities of both the exhibition and its participants.
We would like to invite the companies that doubted the legitimacy of our use of the brand, and that have been waiting for the official confirmation on the matter, to join us at AGROFARM-2020 at VDNH.
We are looking forward to meeting you at the AGROFARM-2020 exhibition at VDNH, Pavilion 75, from February 4 to February 9!
For more detailed information see the AGROFARM-2020 website.