New telecom unit may face trademark dispute

  • 2005-02-09
  • By TBT staff
TALLINN - Mobile-communication operator Radiolinja and ISP Uninet last week merged operations in Estonia under one trademark that has faced accusations from the local telecom giant Elion.

Elion representatives claimed that Elisa, the new trademark of the joint company uniting Radiolinja and Uninet, sounds too similar to Elion and could confuse consumers,

Elion CEO Valdur Kalm told the Eesti Paevaleht daily that it was relatively difficult for Elisa to distinguish itself from competitors as its services and the business name resembles that of Elion fairly closely.

Elion lawyers are examining whether the Elisa trademark could be misleading to customers, added Kalm.

Regina Salmo, Elisa's spokeswoman in Estonia, said the company had chosen to wait for the steps of the competing party. "We do not plan do take any steps, as Elion apparently has not decided whether they will file the complaint in court," said Salmo on Feb. 8.

Elisa OY was the head company of Radiolinja Eesti. Last summer the company that owned Uninet was sold to Elisa, and management decided to merge several trademarks into one to make the brand stronger, Salmo explained. In Finland, the Elisa brand was also a result of merging several companies.

According to the Estonian Patent Office, Elisa OY has filed three trademark applications in various fields to register Elisa as a trademark in Estonia. The registration process may take about two months more.

Estonian legislation allows to contest a trademark registration both before and after the registration.

Elion, a subsidiary of Estonian Telecom, is the largest telecommunication company in the country, offering a full range of fixed-line telephony, Internet access and IT solutions.

Uninet and Radiolinja will fully transform their visual image into Elisa within a month, and the legal formalities of the merger should be completed by the end of the year. The new company wants to position itself as a quality telecom operator that will offer mobile, fixed-line and Internet services to private and corporate customers.

As of February 2005, about 215,000 people used Radiolinja mobile-phone service, and by the end of this year Elisa plans to introduce 3G network in about 12 months.

The company's fixed-line and Internet access is now limited to the Uninet infrastructure in Tallinn that mostly deals with business clients. This year Elisa plans to expand its non-mobile services to business clients in Tartu, Parnu and Narva and may enter the private customers market in the future.