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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Apr 21, 2022 (Newsletter Issue 5/22)
Russian Federation
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Future of Foreign IP Rights Uncertain

The Russian government is taking steps to lessen intellectual property rights and eliminate enforcement mechanisms within the country's borders. It is likely that piracy of patented technologies, brand names and logos, and copyrighted works will increase.

By Decree No. 299 of March 6, 2022, the Russian Government determined that, as of the date of the Decree, in cases where the Russian authorities decide to grant a compulsory license for reasons of national security, the compensation due to the owner patents for inventions, industrial designs, and utility models originating in “unfriendly” countries shall be zero. The Decree amended Article 1360 of the Russian Civil Code on compulsory licenses and reduced the compensation for the right holder from 0.5% to 0% of the profits from the exploitation of the right itself.

Countries considered unfriendly by Russia include Albania, Andorra, Canada, European Union countries, Iceland, South Korea, Lichtenstein, Macedonia, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In addition, according to a Federal Law dated March 8, 2022, the Russian Government may establish a list of goods for which exclusive rights, such as trademarks, may not be granted. So far, the list of goods has not been published.

Furthermore, the Russian court system has diluted foreign trademark rights. A Russian court has decided to allow the continued infringement of two Peppa Pig trademarks in response to Western economic sanctions. Entertainment One UK Limited, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc., brought a trademark infringement suit against a Russian entrepreneur for use of its “Peppa Pig” and “Daddy Pig” marks. The suit was dismissed by the Arbitration Court of the Kirov Region in a decision published on March 3, 2022. The presiding judge specifically cited the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and other European countries as grounds for ruling the case was an “abuse of right” and thus subject to dismissal. Following this ruling, trademark applications have already been filed in Russia that clearly copy famous brands like McDonald’s and Starbucks.

For more information, please see here and here