Gowling WLG (International) Inc - Russia
On 18 November, the Association of European Businesses held a briefing in Russia, in which the head of the Russia Patent and Trademark Office (Rospatent) – Grigory Ivliev – outlined what Rospatent is doing in the IP field to improve the investment climate in Russia.
With regard to patents, new initiatives include the outsourcing of patent searches and substantive examination, which is expected to start in August 2021. This will enable Russian scientific organisations and universities to assist Rospatent with carrying out preliminary searches and patentability assessments. In order to qualify, a scientific organisation or university must become accredited. As part of the process, Rospatent will provide access to its patent search databases and train scientists in the intricacies of patent searching and examination (as necessary).
The idea behind the outsourcing programme is to capitalise on the expertise available in these organisations. Ivliev highlighted that there has been an increase in the number of complex state-of-the-art, cross-disciplinary patent applications that are difficult for regular examiners to thoroughly evaluate. Further, he stated that this programme will improve the speed and quality of examination. Possible candidates for accreditation include the state universities in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Tyumen.
Ivliev also discussed the new Unified Register of Pharmacologically Active Substances Protected by a Patent, which Rospatent is currently developing. Initially the register was intended for Russia only as a useful tool to prevent infringement of patent rights for drugs and generics entering the market before the original drug’s patent expiry date. However, from 2021 the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will handle marketing authorisation procedures. Ivliev mentioned that not all EAEU countries consider this unified register to be efficient, as patent linkage could create difficulties in obtaining marketing authorisation for drugs. Thus, while there were previously greater aspirations with regard to the list’s purposes, it will, for the time being, be a database for informational purposes only. The register will contain data entered, at a patentee’s request, for chemical compounds that are active agents of drugs and their patent coverage.
Ivliev was also keen to note that there has been a rise in video hearings and dispositions of patent revocation cases at first instance before the Chamber for Patent Disputes in 2020. According to recent statistics, about 30% of the hearings in 2020 in the Patent Chamber have been managed without personal appearance but rather by video conference. It is likely that this new approach, initially driven by necessity during the covid-19 pandemic, is here to stay.