Legal services for business and people

Protection of intellectual property rights in Russia

The Civil Code of the Russian Federation, in its sixty-ninth chapter, recognizes the rights to the results of intellectual activities and means of individualization. The results of intellectual activities, as well as the means of individualization of legal entities, goods, works, services and enterprises that are protected by Russian law are listed in article 1225 of the Russian Civil code and include amongst others scientific, literary and artistic works, sound recordings, inventions, utility models, commercial and company names.

The intellectual rights related to works of science, literature and art are considered as copyright rights and are the subject of the seventieth chapter of the Russian civil code, while the intellectual rights related to inventions, utility models and industrial designs are patents rights and are the subject of the seventy-first chapter of the aforementioned code. Rights relative to selection attainments (chapter 73) also fall into the patent category. Rights to a topography (chapter 74), rights to secrets of production (chapter 75) are also intellectual rights protected by the laws of the Russian Federation.

The intellectual rights related to the means of individualization of a legal entity, goods, works, services and enterprises are the subject of the seventy-sixth article of the Civil code. The exclusive right to a trademark, the exclusive right to a service mark, the exclusive right to an appellation of origin and the exclusive right to a commercial name all fall into the category of means of individualization, and are thus protected.

All intellectual rights, whether they are copyrights right, patent rights or rights to a mean of individualization, include an exclusive right. They can also sometimes entail other personal non property rights or other rights.

The exclusive right, which is deemed as a property right, initially belongs to the author of the result of the intellectual activity, but can be transferred by the author to another person via a contract; this exclusive right, as stated in article 1230, is only effective for a certain amount of time that is to be determined by law.

The right holder can dispose of their exclusive right in any lawful way that they please, which means that they can decide to fully transfer their right to another person via a contract on alienation (article 1234), or provide another person with the right to use their intellectual property under certain conditions to be decided by law and by the parties via a license contract (articles 1235 to 1239).

In order for the rights to the results of intellectual property and means of individualization to be recognized and protected, said results or means shall be officially registered, except for copyright rights, which are, as a result of the Berne Convention, automatically granted. The governmental agency responsible of intellectual property is the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, also known as Rospatent.

All these provisions, as well as those that come from international treaties that the Russian Federation is part of, apply on the territory of the Russian Federation. However, the Intellectual Property rights of Russian nationals aren’t automatically protected by the law in the rest of the world. Indeed, although most countries recognize and offer various levels of protection of intellectual property, the protection of those rights works on the principle of independence, which means that the conditions to obtain these rights and the regime of protection of said rights are determined by domestic legislation, thus they won’t apply in other countries. As a consequence, any IP rights owner seeking to protect their rights on an international scale should apply for registration in all countries to make sure that their rights are recognized and protected.

In the current context of internationalization of trade, this system proves to be inefficient, which is why countries have been trying for the past few years to create a strong and consistent system of intellectual property. With this idea in mind, several international organizations have been created, and various multilateral treaties have been established in order to provide IP rights owner with some sort of protection of their rights in more than just their home country.

The first intellectual property-related international organization that was created is the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is a specialized agency of the UN. It was created to act as a forum for countries to discuss IP issues. The WIPO administrates some of the most important international IP-related treaties and conventions.

One of these is the Paris convention for the protection of Intellectual Property, which was signed on the 20th of March 1883, making it the first ever international convention on IP right. A hundred and seventy seven countries have signed this convention, including Russia, in 1965. The provisions of this convention ensure to its signatory countries that their nationals seeking to get their industrial property rights (patents, trademarks, trade names…) recognized in another country that is a member will receive the same treatment as nationals of said country, and that they also will benefit from a right of priority that allows for their rights to be recognized faster and more easily in all countries that are part of the convention. The Paris convention also creates minimum standards of protection to be applied by all members, such as the prohibition to use a State Emblem or any other official national symbol without authorization. However, the protection system created by this convention remains weak, due to a lack of enforcement mechanisms. Indeed, the disputes under this treaty are to be resolved by the International Court of Justice, whose jurisdiction isn’t recognized by most signatory countries.

The Paris Convention was complemented in 1891 by the Madrid Agreement and in 1959 by the Madrid Protocol, both of which contributed to set in place a centralized registration system for IP rights owners seeking to register their trademark in several countries that are members of the Paris convention. Another addition was made to the Paris Convention in 1970, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, whose goal was to create a centralized patent registration system for all signatory members, but the Russian Federation has not signed it.

The WIPO also administrates the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which is a convention that ensures the protection of copyrights only and which was created in 1886 and signed by the Russian Federation over a decade later, in 1994. This convention enforces three basic principles related to the protection of copyright rights : the principle of automatic protection, which means that copyright rights are automatically protected instead of having to go through a registration; the principle of national treatment, which allows copyright owners from all signatory countries to be granted the same rights in any given signatory country as the nationals of said countries; the independence of protection , which means that each signatory country still choses on its own terms the level of protection granted on their territory to copyright owners. Aside from that, the Berne convention also creates minimum standards of protection, including the extension of the duration of the protection (which should end on the 50th year after the author’s death) or recognition of the author’s rights to claim authorship or to object to any mutilation, deformation or any modification. However, as with the Paris convention, the lack of enforcement mechanism prevents the provisions of this convention from being effective.

In addition to the Berne Convention, two other WIPO-administered treaty on copyright protection were created in 1996, the WIPO Copyright treaty and the WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty, to respond to advances in information technology that occurred after the creation of previous copyright treaties. The additional measures of copyright protection provided by these treaties include, amongst others, the recognition of computer programs as literary works subject to a copyright. The Russian Federation has only signed the WIPO Copyright treaty, in 2005.

The other international organization whose work is related to intellectual property is the World Trade Organization, which Russia joined in 2012. The WTO administrates the Agreement on Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, also known as the TRIPS agreement, which Russia joined in 2012. The TRIPS agreement is deemed the main intellectual property agreement, as its ratification is compulsory for all WTO members. Furthermore, unlike all aforementioned treaties and agreements, the TRIPS agreement has a powerful enforcement mechanism, as the WTO can enforce sanctions upon its members. This treaty requires all its signatories to provide a strong intellectual property rights protection system, incorporating provisions from the Berne Convention as well as the Paris Convention and thus forcing countries that haven’t signed those conventions to still abide by their rules.

Types of intellectual property infringement in Russia.

We mark some of violation types which the most common in Russia.

1. Using someone's else IPR in the domain name.

A lot of Russian businessmen want to be rich at once. In this reason a lot of them use some IPR of foreign companies hoping not be punished. Our company has a great experience in such cases and ready to protect rights foreign company in Russian courts.

There is very especially process to fix this fact and prove it in the court. To do it you have to fix infringement notary. If the site with domain name contains foreign language you should to translate it. These steps are not enough and the copyright holder should to do something else to protect his rights.

2. Using someone's else IPR in product trading.

Using someone's else trademark in products is very popular infringement in Russia too. To fix infringement copyright holder have to do same steps as stated above and other ones.

Every year intellectual property rules in Russia develop. There are a lot of acts are adopted. Russia want to be a part of World economy and to be this one impossible without protection intellectual property rights.

Over the life of the company we helped a lot of foreign companies and want to do it in the future.

Our company helps you to protect the following IPR:
- Patents;
- Copyrights;
- Industrial design rights;
- Plant varieties;
- Trademarks;
- Trade dress;
- Trade secrets and others.

Call us now and we help to solve your problem!

We have been working since 2006.