New IP law for Russia

Russian Federation

Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a new IP law that will come into effect on January 1 2008.

The new law, known as Part IV of the Russian Civil Code, incorporates all the existing Russian IP laws and includes various amendments to improve current legislation. The changes include the following:

  • Interested parties only may submit a request for termination of a trademark registration on the grounds of non-use to the Board for Patent Disputes. Currently, any third party may file such a request;

  • Trademark use by parties under the control of the mark owner other than licensees may now constitute due use. Previously a trademark would be deemed properly used only if it was applied on the goods and/or services for which it was registered and/or their packaging by the trademark owner or a person to whom the trademark owner granted such right by virtue of a licence, subject to mandatory recordal with the Russian Trademark Office; and

  • The control by mark owners over the quality of a licensee's goods is now an entitlement rather than an obligation. Previously, trademark owners would have had to ensure that the quality of a licensee's goods was not inferior to the trademark owner's goods. However, under the amended provision, mark owners are jointly liable for claims addressed to the licensee as the producer of goods.

Part IV also incorporates provisions making Russian law more compatible with the international agreements to which Russia has adhered or will adhere to in the near future.

Although the changes are by no means revolutionary, their scope is wide and thus the forthcoming year will see gradual adaptation to prepare for the implementation of the new legislation. Also, as not all of the proposals were accepted at the time of signing, the coming months will see further amendments to Part IV.

Vladimir Biriulin, Gorodissky & Partners, Moscow

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