Market Insight

Updates from an international team of correspondents who report on recent developments in IP law and practice in their home jurisdictions, as well as strategic issues and those relating to finance, dealmaking and valuation.

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Russia

02 MARCH 2022

New Russian legislation may enable more individuals to own trademarks

Russia’s government has issued a bill that seeks to broaden the grounds of eligibility for trademark applicants. In doing so, it is hoped that this will enshrine a measure of equality in the registration process

23 FEBRUARY 2022

Russian Supreme Court rejects Gilead’s decree challenge

In a closely watched case, the Supreme Court has upheld the Civil Code’s prioritising of people’s lives and health during the covid-19 pandemic, over profits lost to patent owners

16 FEBRUARY 2022

Lawful use of warning symbols is advised for trademarks registered in Russia

Trademark symbols enjoy many positives, namely in underlining the attractions of a particular product. However, they ought not to be used with unregistered marks, because there is a risk that doing so will misinform consumers

09 FEBRUARY 2022

NFTs: buyers beware! The view from Russia

Purchasers of an NFT linked with a specified digital art piece ought to be aware of that piece’s IP rights, to avoid facing infringement claims from third parties in Russia

02 FEBRUARY 2022

Morality clauses in the era of social media scandals: what brands should know

In a social media-driven world, it is imperative that morality clauses are effectively drafted to safeguard the public image of a company’s brand. In Russia, there are several provisions by which a morality clause may be enforced to achieve this aim.

12 JANUARY 2022

IP Court clarifies what constitutes token use for trademarks vulnerable to non-use

Russian owners may claim token use to prevent their trademarks being cancelled. However, whether this will be regarded as sufficient evidence of use depends on market conditions and business practices.

24 NOVEMBER 2021

Russia approves radical new anti-counterfeiting plans

A decisive new strategy looks set to transform the war on fake goods in Russia. The measures will extend landlord liability for counterfeits and will initially apply to priority sectors only – although there are already discussions underway about extending them.

03 NOVEMBER 2021

How to successfully navigate exclusions in Russian patent law

While Russian patent law identifies which objects are excluded from patentability, not all exclusions are straightforward. A deep dive into a recent case study provides useful guidance for this murky area.

27 OCTOBER 2021

How to register on the Eurasian Patent Organisation’s new Pharmaceutical Register

The creation of a new Pharmaceutical Register earlier this year is a significant boost for the Eurasian life sciences space and should provide a higher level of transparency for players across the sector.

13 OCTOBER 2021

The Eurasian trademark system creates new opportunities for brand owners

Following the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, a trademark registration system has been implemented for member states. With easier registration procedures and lower fees, this system will encourage brands to seek proper protection for their marks.

25 AUGUST 2021

What you need to know about non-use trademark cancellation actions in Russia

Non-Russian rights holders often find the country’s non-use cancellation procedure confusing. Fortunately, trademark professionals in the country have put together some useful information for those considering filing their marks there.

18 AUGUST 2021

Amendments to alcohol production laws signal new dawn for champagne and cognac labelling in Russia

The Russian beverages sector, as well as foreign importers to Russia, are grappling with an overhaul of the use of the terms ‘champagne’ and ‘cognac’, in an effort to distinguish the sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France and Russian shampanskoye, and other similar beverages.

11 AUGUST 2021

In Russia, public personal data is not so public anymore

The rules for processing public data have changed in Russia – now, individuals have more control over their data, while data operators must obtain special written consent from the data subject.

07 JULY 2021

The crucial role that trademarks play in Russia

An overview of the Russian trademark landscape focuses on key points that trademark applicants need to consider when registering their marks.

30 JUNE 2021

New amendments to Russian regulations pave way for generic drugs

Russia’s new measures for regulating pharmaceutical products promise a new wave of innovation by making it easier to file patents, but also signal a shift in the domestic pharmaceutical market as we know it.

23 JUNE 2021

Russia fast-tracks patent applications in the war against covid-19

One year on from the Russia Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to accelerate virus and disease-related patent applications, figures show that rates have grown substantially.

09 JUNE 2021

EAEU Treaty on Trademarks comes into effect

The new Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Treaty on Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin of Goods is a significant step forward in shaping the implementation of a regional filing system across the region.

26 MAY 2021

How to obtain patent protection for strains of microorganism in Russia

Medicines based on strains of microorganism are a growing sphere of the pharmaceutical industry and require reliable patent protection. It can be challenging but not impossible to obtain patents for medicines containing these strains - provided that applicants know what they are doing.

19 MAY 2021

Russia’s first-to-file and state-secret check requirement explained

Russia’s first-to-file system may appear to be complicated, but a deep dive into the process demonstrates that it is not so daunting.

21 APRIL 2021

Registering personal names as trademarks in Russia

Using a name as a trademark is an age-old practice that is still common today. However, not many people are aware of the strict rules – and the loopholes – that exist in the registration system when it comes to registering this type of mark.

07 APRIL 2021

Comprehensive review charts how Russia’s pharmaceutical market is changing in response to covid-19

A new report presents an invaluable snapshot of the trademark aspects of Russia’s pharmaceutical industry, highlighting the government’s continuing push for localisation, as well as the evolving role of online pharmacies.

24 MARCH 2021

Counterfeiters beware! Russia introduces a national system of product labelling

A national system to digitally label goods is being rolled out in an attempt to curb the sale of counterfeit products in Russia. The system, called Honest Mark, is currently far from comprehensive, but paves the way for change in the market.

10 MARCH 2021

Focusing on the genetic construct when applying for a drug patent could be key to obtaining protection

Protecting intellectual property is a key concern in the pharmaceutical industry, which requires high risk and large investments in time and money. It is thus highly recommended that patent applicants focus not only on the drug itself, but also on related subject matters, such as the genetic construct, when applying for protection.

10 FEBRUARY 2021

How covid-19 is helping online infringers to grow their business in Russia

The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of infringement in the global e-commerce sphere. To combat this, the European Commission has created a watch list of potential infringers – here are certain things that businesses should look out for.

03 FEBRUARY 2021

Ratification begins for the EAEU Treaty on Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin

The members of the Eurasian Economic Union have signed a treaty that will dramatically alter how member states can apply for and use trademarks in their respective countries and the region as a whole.

27 JANUARY 2021

Keeping on top of Russian trademark procedures – what you need to know

Given the rise of covid-19-related trademark filings and the shortening of registration time, businesses operating – or looking to operate – in the Russian market should ensure that they are fully up to date with Russian trademark practice.

09 DECEMBER 2020

What Rospatent has in store for 2021 – head of Rospatent speaks out

The head of the Russia Patent and Trademark Office highlights improvements in the patent field and reveals the office’s plans for 2021.

25 NOVEMBER 2020

Using patents to best protect antibody-based drugs in Russia

Medicines based on antibodies are a crucial component of the pharmaceutical industry, making it essential to properly draft claims so as to obtain patents with reasonable claims coverage.

11 NOVEMBER 2020

How the ongoing electronic IP revolution is shaping Russian IP practice

The switch to electronic has had a number of benefits for Russian filings. However, attorneys should be wary of renting out e-signatures.

28 OCTOBER 2020

How to simplify patent security clearance for inventions

When filing a patent application for an invention made in Russia, it is crucial to adhere to patent security clearance guidelines to ensure that the invention does not breach national security regulations.

21 OCTOBER 2020

New possibilities to protect designs in Eurasia

Following a conference in Kazakhstan on the Protocol on the Protection of Industrial Designs in Eurasia, members of the Eurasian Patent Organisation (EAPO) that adopt the protocol will enjoy new rights with regard to protecting designations across EAPO territories.

07 OCTOBER 2020

Changes to company names and bad-faith trademark applications in Russia

In welcome news for business owners, the Russia Patent and Trademark Office has released an information notice, which states that the system to object to bad-faith trademark applications has been significantly amended to include company names.

30 SEPTEMBER 2020

Keeping the right side of Rospatent’s ban on misleading trademark transfers

The Russian Patent and Trademark Office clearly states that trademark rights cannot be transferred if there is any chance that consumers may be misled as to the goods or services provided, making it key to evaluate whether such a risk is present at the time of assignment recordal.

09 SEPTEMBER 2020

Getting the most out of pharmaceutical patent-term extensions in Russia

Although it has become harder to obtain patent-term extensions for drugs, pesticides or agricultural chemicals, a careful approach can still result in Rospatent granting supplementary protection.

12 AUGUST 2020

Simple steps to expedite patent prosecution in Russia

When it comes to filing Russian patents, prosecution can be significantly accelerated by using the patent prosecution highway programme, which is widely available and involves no additional official fees. While this is also available to applicants of Eurasian patents, there are other paths to obtaining a decision to grant that can be highly effective.

29 JULY 2020

How to optimise Hague design applications in Russia

Data reveals that international entities are keen to register design applications in Russia. But applicants need to be aware of the differences between Russian national and international application examination procedures.

22 JULY 2020

How LONDON MALL can become a registered trademark in Russia

As of 27 July 2020 geographical indications will be introduced as a form of intellectual property in Russia. However, case law suggests that applicants will continue to take the somewhat complicated trademark registration route in order to obtain exclusive rights to geographically themed designations.

15 JULY 2020

Applying the doctrine of equivalents in Russian pharma

Russian courts take a fairly strict approach to assessing equivalence in patent claims. It is therefore crucial to pay careful attention to wording to prevent third parties from using the essence of the patented invention in their designs.

17 JUNE 2020

Russian Supreme Court revokes catch-22 roadblock for customs recordals

A recent Supreme Court ruling in Trivium-XXI LLC v Federal Customs Service may end the frustrating situation for brand owners seeking to record their trademarks or copyrighted works with Russian Customs.

03 JUNE 2020

The drive to improve Russian anti-piracy protection intensifies

In the face of the unprecedented demand for online services brought about by covid-19-related quarantine measures, the Russian Ministry of Culture has renewed its attempts to tighten existing anti-piracy legislation with new proposed amendments.

27 MAY 2020

Russian ministry supports bid to liberalise advertising law

The advertising market has been significantly affected by the covid-19 pandemic and the resulting financial fallout. Deputy Minister Alexey Volin addressed the issue of market shrinkage at a meeting of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, IT and Communications on 12 May.

20 MAY 2020

Russia erects barriers against counterfeiters along the new Silk Roads

New Silk Road paths have emerged in recent decades, providing for the movement of counterfeit goods across Russia and former Soviet Union states. As a result of the unstable political and economic situations in some of these regions, monitoring and combating the flow of fake goods along these routes is a significant challenge. Nevertheless, Russia has been developing ways to impede the traffic within its own territory.

06 MAY 2020

Russian domain name disputes look set to become more challenging

Changes made at the end of 2019 to several procedural codes could make it more difficult, expensive and time intensive for trademark owners to obtain domain names from infringing registrants who use Russia’s country-code top-level domain ‘.ru’.

22 APRIL 2020

Updates to pharma regulatory amendments in Russia tackle covid-19

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Law on the Introduction of Amendments to Certain RF Laws Concerning the Prevention and Liquidation of Emergency Situations has now come into force, amending several laws related to the circulation and registration of medicines and medical devices in Russia.

08 APRIL 2020

Russia's strict requirements for XYZ, abbreviation and acronym trademarks

Internationally famous brands that consist of simple combinations of letters are familiar to the general public. In some cases, these types of letter combination can be registered in Russia even though the process for successfully doing so can be an uphill battle.

01 APRIL 2020

Trademarks and hashtags in Russia

The hashtag (#) has come to play a vital role in consumer society, which most businesses cannot afford to overlook. As the use of hashtags grows, Russian law has had to address whether they can be registered as trademarks in Russia and if it is possible for a third party to infringe another entity’s trademark rights by using a hashtag that includes a registered mark.

25 MARCH 2020

Russian courts go into quarantine

In view of Russia’s national measures against the spread of covid-19, on 18 March 2020 the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and Presidium of the Judges Council of the Russian Federation suspended most hearings in the country’s courts.

26 FEBRUARY 2020

Russia's new law on crowdfunding explained

The Law on Crowdfunding came into force at the beginning of 2020. It offers new, alternative tools for raising capital for small and medium-sized businesses and introduces the concept of an investment platform and utility digital rights.

19 FEBRUARY 2020

So much more than a container: protection of packaging as a trademark in Russia

An effective way to fight counterfeit goods is by extending existing IP protection to a product’s packaging – here is everything rights holders need to know about filing an application to do this in Russia.

12 FEBRUARY 2020

Unity of invention requirements: Russia versus Eurasia

According to Russian and Eurasian patent regulations, an application must relate to one invention or a group of inventions. In the latter case, all of the inventions in the group must be linked so as to form a single general inventive concept, which meets the unity of invention requirement. However, there are differences between the Russia Patent and Trademark Office and the Eurasian Patent Organisation’s rules for determining whether claims meet this requirement.

29 JANUARY 2020

Voluntarily restrictions on Russian and Eurasian patents: a useful option for patent holders

Voluntary restrictions of Eurasian and Russian patents can be hugely beneficial if the scope of the original patent was broader than necessary for enforcement or created validity concerns. The Eurasian patent regime currently provides more opportunities for restriction, while the options for partial renunciation of a Russian patent remain limited.

15 JANUARY 2020

Required pre-installation of Russian software on smartphones: what does this mean for rights holders?

Russia has passed a new law, which requires certain types of devices – most likely smartphones, computers and some types of television, that enter the Russian market – to have Russian software pre-installed. However, at this early stage, the law remains vague. Although it appears part of an effort to promote the Russian tech industry, concern is being voiced about it in the country and abroad.

18 DECEMBER 2019

FTO assessments: what rights holders need to consider

Patent rights are vigorously protected in Russia – it is therefore advisable that those interested in commercialising a product or process perform vital risk-management analysis in order to gauge their freedom to operate (FTO). This article highlights some of the main features of an FTO assessment in the context of Russian law.

11 DECEMBER 2019

Russia’s Sovereign Internet Law comes into force

Russia's Law on Sovereign Internet came into force in November. This law is designed to help create a national network, which can operate independently in the event of disconnection from the global network.

04 DECEMBER 2019

Scant possibilities for joint trademark ownership in Russia

Joint ownership of exclusive rights to a trademark is increasingly important for co-owners of businesses, yet it is still unobtainable under the Russian system. Recent Russian court rulings – including those of the Supreme Court – as well as positions taken by the Russia Patent and Trademark Office, have brought into focus many of the ambiguities and difficulties in the country’s legislation that hamper the possibility for joint ownership.

27 NOVEMBER 2019

Customs recordal landscape set to change for brand owners in Russia

Russia is continuing to structure its customs legislation in accordance with Eurasian Economic Union regulations and ongoing advances in technology. While most of the new rules are in line with the previous regime, there are two important changes that will significantly affect brand-protection strategies, reshaping the Russian customs recordal landscape for the better and helping brand owners to avoid potential pitfalls.

06 NOVEMBER 2019

The future is here: what the Digital Economy Programme means for Rospatent

Improving electronic interactivity has been a high priority for the Russian Patent and Trademark Office in recent years, especially since the launch of the Digital Economy Programme in 2018. This long-term initiative aims to revolutionise the country’s IT infrastructure, enabling the widespread, efficient and secure receipt, transmission, processing and storage of electronic data by all levels of government bodies by 2024.

23 OCTOBER 2019

Word trademarks in Russia: what’s new?

Trademark filing practice is changing in Russia. The Russian Patent and Trademark Office no longer considers typographical differences (among others), in order to crack down on duplicating rights and overloading the state trademark register, as well as to discourage the regular refiling of marks that lack proper use.

02 OCTOBER 2019

Russian IP law will protect GIs

On 26 July 2019 the Russian president signed a bill on a new, independent form of intellectual property – geographical indications. The bill introduces amendments to Part IV of the Russian Civil Code and the federal law on the manufacture and circulation of spirits and alcoholic products.

04 SEPTEMBER 2019

The significant role of colour in Russian trademarks

Colour plays a significant role in strengthening brand awareness and distinguishing products and services from those of their competitors. Unfortunately, this has motivated some companies to unfairly capitalise on the reputation of well-known brands by using similar colour schemes, which creates confusion in the marketplace. Registering colour as the distinctive feature or as one of the distinctive features of a trademark can help to prevent such situations.

28 AUGUST 2019

How to buy a trademark in Russia

There may be several scenarios in which a company needs to buy a Russian-registered trademark owned by a third party – either to save time and money or to remove obstacles to registering another mark. This article highlights what interested parties should be aware of during transactions.

06 AUGUST 2019

Patent extension in Russia

Since 2003 it has been possible to extend the duration or term of a Russian patent for a drug, pesticide or agricultural chemical by up to five years. It used to be possible to extend patent claims related to a substance, antibody or pharmaceutical formulation. However, in 2015 the regulations were tightened. Knowing how to achieve the maximum scope of protection provided by an additional patent is key.

10 JULY 2019

Influencer marketing in Russia: legal traps and pitfalls

According to a recent report, almost half of all Russian millennials use blogs and social media to learn about luxury brands. However, influencer marketing has raised many questions among brand owners, as well as legal concerns, since Russian laws support a broad interpretation of advertising and discourage indirect advertisements.

03 JULY 2019

Mobile customs groups: from combating sanctioned food to fighting counterfeits

A specialised customs division created to detect and destroy sanctioned foodstuffs following President Vladimir Putin’s prohibition on the import of certain products is now being used to detect other illegal products, such as counterfeit goods and drugs.

15 MAY 2019

Domain name disputes in Russia – new developments

Disputes over domain names owned by non-Russians have long posed a legal and financial challenge for rights holders in Russia. However, a 2018 IP Court ruling transformed the legal landscape when it ordered a domain registrar to terminate an infringing domain name. Further, the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal has set an interesting precedent by holding a registrar liable as an information intermediary.

03 APRIL 2019

Improving accessibility to marketing authorisations for drugs could have some nasty side-effects

The Russian Ministry of Health has introduced a draft bill that clarifies the application process for marketing authorisations for a drug. There is concern that the new accessibility could lead to infringement when authorisation is sought for generic drugs. However, a proposed unified registry could prevent this.

06 MARCH 2019

The attractiveness of utility model protection in Russia

While many other countries do not have sufficient protection for utility model patents, Russia has a set of laws that provides comprehensive cover. While this may make the Russian system seem appealing, it is important to look at the pros and cons of invention versus utility model patents.

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