Krasny Oktyabr Sued Over Label

Candy giant Krasny Oktyabr is being sued for 4 million rubles ($143,087) by a woman who claims that the company improperly used her likeness on its Alyonka chocolate bars.

Yelena Gerinas states in her lawsuit, the first of its kind in Russia, that the portrait on Alyonka bars has significantly contributed to the brand's popularity over the past 30 years.

Krasny Oktyabr puts the value of the Alyonka trademark at more than $10 million.

A Moscow court, which had planned to hear the case last week, has rescheduled the hearing until the beginning of next year.

Gerinas claims that the image on Alyonka bars was copied from a photograph taken by her father, the well-known photographer Alexander Gerinas, who once worked for Krasny Oktyabr. She says that Krasny Oktyabr artists used the photograph in designing the Alyonka label.

Yelena Gerinas says the candy company used her likeness on its Alyonka bars.

The lawsuit, citing article 21 of the law on copyrights, argues that the candy company should have obtained permission from Yelena Gerinas and owes her royalties for reproducing her likeness for commercial purposes. Gerinas is seeking compensation of more than 4 million rubles.

Krasny Oktyabr fiercely denies that Gerinas' likeness is depicted on the bars, saying the image was developed in the style of Russian folk art.

"[The] artistic vision created the face of a girl with blue eyes, bangs parted on one side and red lips without dimples," the company's lawyers said in a statement.

Company officials also pointed out that the Alyonka label has been modified several times since it was launched.

"We believe that this dispute is unethical," said Konstantin Fedenyuk, head of the legal department at Krasny Oktyabr.

"Krasny Oktyabr has produced this chocolate bar, one of our most popular, for more than 30 years."