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Intellectual Property in Russia

Intellectual Property in Russia

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Intellectual Property protection in its modern sense is considered to be quite young in Russia. Although Russia is not far behind world standards for protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property, major changes took place in Russia in 2008. Almost ten years ago the Fourth Chapter of the Russian Civil Code incorporating various Intellectual Property-related rules came into effect. Of course, this area of law is still changing, leading to new amendments, improvement proposals, and legal discussions. 

Intellectual Property legislation in Russia covers the protection of copyright and related rights, patentable inventions, industrial designs, utility models, trademark and service mark law, and appellations of origin. Computer programs (software), know-how, company and commercial names, and others products of intellectual activity are also legally protected. Furthermore, Russia is a party to the most important international treaties in Intellectual Property, such as the convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

The Russian Federal Agency for Intellectual Property, Patents, and Trademarks (Rospatent) and the Russian Intellectual Property Court play key roles in Intellectual Property regulation. Rospatent is responsible for registering Intellectual Property rights such as patentable inventions, industrial designs, utility models, trademarks, software, and databases, as well as for registering assignments, license agreements, and other encumbrances over these registered rights. The 2013 creation of the IP Court –which was the first and remains the sole specialist civil court in Russia (even including in the Soviet era court system) – was a big step towards establishing and developing practices in the application of the law and development of legal precedents. This innovation has also obviously increased the level of professionalism and provided a sound legal approach for judgments in this area of law.

Patent legislation protects patentable inventions – i.e., those inventions that are new, have an inventive step, and are capable of industrial application. The duration of a patent in Russia is 20 years, and it may be extended for another five years for inventions in agro chemistry or in pharma. 

Utility model patents are granted for ten years and may be extended for another three years. A utility model must be new and capable of industrial application to be patentable. Industrial designs can be protected for five years and may be extended for another five years. This may be renewed, so that overall a design patent may last for up to 25 years. An industrial design must be new and original to be patentable. 

Intellectual Property-related information which has actual or potential commercial value for the manufacturer can be protected in Russia as a trade secret or as know-how. The owner of this information must take active measures to protect the secrecy of the information and to ensure that it is unknown to third parties.

Russian IP legislation protects, inter alia, means of individualization – i.e., it provides legal protection for those Intellectual Property rights that are used to distinguish and identify companies or goods or services that they offer. Among these rights are company names, trade names, or commercial names, trademarks and service marks, as well as appellations of origin of goods.

To be protected in Russia, a trademark or a service mark needs to be registered with Rospatent. Such marks may also be protected in Russia under the Madrid System of the International Registration of Marks. The duration of trademark protection is ten years, calculated from the filing date. This ten-year protection period can be renewed an unlimited number of times.

As a result of Russia joining the WTO, new IP legislation implementing international standards for the protection of Intellectual Property rights has been adopted. Thus, the legal mechanisms to combat Intellectual Property rights infringements have been gradually improving in many respects. Russian law now provides for adequate remedies for the owners of rights, and those who infringe IP rights may face civil, administrative, or criminal liability. In general, sanctions depend on the character of the infringement committed. For example, in civil proceedings the owner of the rights can demand termination of the infringement, seizure and destruction of counterfeit goods, and payment of compensatory damages or compensation of up to RUB 5 million, which is now about EUR 83,000.

As a result, the Russian legal framework in the area of Intellectual Property is generally in line with international standards, offering Russian and foreign owners of rights adequate protection for their Intellectual Property rights.

By Anton Bankovskiy, Partner, CMS Russia

This Article was originally published in Issue 4.5 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.

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