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Protecting Brands In The Current Russian Environment
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Protecting Brands In The Current Russian Environment

While reports that IP rights rights have been suspended entirely or that pirates and infringers are free to ignore IP rights may be exaggerated, there is still cause for concern about IP protection and brands in particular.

Recent changes to Russian IP rules include the elimination of compensation for compulsory licenses of patents for rights holders associated “unfriendly” countries. The Russian government also has the option to designate certain goods and groups of goods as IP protection in 2022. These new rules give Russia unprecedented authority to take action against IP rights. However, no such actions have been taken to date.

Another case was where a Russian court declined IP rights enforcement simply because the rights owner came from an “unfriendly”. This case, while it may have appeared politically motivated and in violation law, we cannot yet state if this is a trend in court or administrative practices.

Battening Down the Hatches – Prepare for Stormy Weather

We can expect a difficult environment for IP rights protection. We expect more activity from local pirates, infringers, and trolls. It is therefore vital to take proactive measures to assess and address brand portfolio risks.

We offer several suggestions in this area.


Russia is the first country to register jurisdiction. In nearly all cases (there are some narrow exceptions for especially famous trademarks and for other special situations), trademark protection is granted only upon registration – actual use will not provide legal protection in nearly all cases.

This means that if your brand or mark has been used in Russia, you need to apply for registration immediately. Trolls are waiting to take up valuable brands and marks and the best defense is a good offense – beat them to the punch and file the application!

Monitor and Quick Response

It is important that you monitor the market for infringements and similar marks, and to watch the trademark agency for applications and registrations for objectionable marks.

As Russia’s economic situation tightens, we can expect increased activity in infringements and attempts to register questionable trademarks. As the economy in Russia tightens, it will be more difficult to enforce rights. Therefore, it is important that you identify problems quickly and take swift action.

A good place to start is to have your business team and lawyers monitor trademark office and market conditions.

Avoid Non-Use Cancellation

Russian trademark law permits third parties to file a partial or full cancellation of a registered mark if the trademark is not used for three years. This can be for the entire mark or any of the classes associated with the mark. It is also very difficult, if it is not impossible, to cure the non use once a cancellation action has been initiated. It is therefore important to identify and address non-use cancellation risk before trouble arises.


Russia will make it increasingly difficult to protect IP rights. Therefore, it is important that you prepare now. We are here to assist in any way possible.

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