Zuykov & Partners - Russia
Labels are placed on goods to confirm both their authenticity and the legality of their origin. In the past, a small number of goods were subject to labelling in Russia, including alcohol and tobacco products, as well as audiovisual works. This was due to the extremely high level of counterfeit and fake goods in these markets.
As the unauthorised production and sale of goods has expanded into other industries, the list of goods that must be labelled has grown accordingly. In the past, excise stamps and holographic stickers were used as labels. Now, a unique digital code, which is protected by cryptography, is applied to the packaging of each product unit to confirm its authenticity.
In 2018 the Russian government approved the following list of goods to become subject to mandatory labelling from 2019 onwards:
- tobacco products;
- perfume and eau de toilette;
- new pneumatic rubber tires and tires;
- clothing, including work clothes, made of leather or composite leather;
- shirts and machine or hand-knitted sweaters (women’s or girls’);
- coats, short coats, capes, raincoats, jackets (including ski jackets), windbreakers and similar products;
- linen bedding, tableware, toiletries and kitchen items;
- footwear; and
- cameras (excluding film cameras), flash cameras and flash lamps.
The aim was to create a system of continuous product labelling in Russia by 2024, under which all categories of goods will be labelled. Any product, regardless of whether it is produced in Russia or imported from other countries, will be marked with a digital code, making it possible to trace the entire path of the product and identify its manufacturer and distributor.
How does compulsory labelling relate to trademarks?
Trademarks are subject to mandatory labelling. One entity can register several trademarks for one type of good (eg, several designations for different lines of shoes), and the manufacturer or distributor is then identified by the same digital code for each product.
In February 2021 the Russia Patent and Trademark Office (Rospatent) signed an agreement on information interaction and data exchange with the Ministry of Industrial Trade of Russia and Operator-CRPT, which operates the mandatory labelling of goods. Now, Rospatent will have access to the information indicated by the owner of the goods during the mandatory labelling process. This includes information on trademarks.
Grigory Ivliev, the head of Rospatent, stated that “through this cooperation, we will be able to reconcile trademarks declared in the labeling system with information about them in Rospatent. The labeling system will contain information about the trademarks, which indicate its participants. Watchdog agencies will receive information about companies that use trademarks but have no rights to them, and information about goods with such trademarks.”
This is positive news for trademark owners, as the agreement will mean that the distributors of counterfeit goods can be tracked, which will reduce the number of cases of trademarks being used without the rights holder’s knowledge.