Russian design law is incorporated into Part IV of the Civil Code. Additional provisions regarding application proceedings are set out in the Rules on Design Patent Application Proceedings and the Instructions for Design Patent Application Documents. Exclusive rights to industrial designs are recognised through registration in the State Register of Industrial Designs and certified by design patents. Certain designs relating to applied art subject matter may be protected by copyright.
While the Russian domain name registration procedure may seem easy, domain names are always at risk – especially when they overlap with traditional IP rights belonging to third parties. Nearly all domain name conflicts result in dispute resolution involving national and international principles of law and practice. Where the dispute is subject to Russian jurisdiction, a reliable and efficient domain name litigation process is available to rights holders.
The Law on the Circulation of Drugs 2015 regulates the procedure and requirements for registering a pharmaceutical product for the purposes of import, production, advertisement or sale. Under the law, drugs can be manufactured, sold and used in Russia only if they are registered with the Ministry of Health. The procedure and requirements for registering a trademark are regulated by Part IV of the Civil Code.
Thanks to a constant flow of counterfeits on the Russian market, Customs has evolved into a well-regulated government machine, which is orchestrating a promising number of seizures. While entrepreneurs will naturally factor in potential difficulties when launching a business in a new market, these rarely extend to counterfeiting. However, if the business thrives, the owner should be on the lookout for this sort of free-riding – the more successful a business, the more likely it is to attract predators.
After a prolonged and heated discussion, the Patent Office recently cancelled three BLACK RUSSIAN trademarks on the basis that the term had been in general use before the trademarks' priority dates to denote a special kind of product in Class 33 – more specifically, a type of cocktail. The Patent Office based its decision on a 2015 IP Court opinion, which held that the registration of trademarks that have come into general use to denote a certain kind of goods is prohibited.
The IP Court Presidium recently upheld the refusal of an appeal on the grounds that the determining factor during a comparison of trademarks is graphic similarity. The presidium observed that the main factor in a comparison of combined marks should be the visual domination of either the word or figurative elements. Further, the importance of the figurative element will depend on the extent to which it fulfils its main function: the individualisation of a particular manufacturer's goods.
The patent office collegium recently upheld the rejection of a patent application for the 'Caffeine Test', which involved giving patients a moderate dose of caffeine to constrict their blood vessels and induce ischemia. The court held that the invention could not be patented as prior art showed that caffeine does not constrict blood vessels and induce ischemia and the applicant had failed to provide authentic data showing that ischemia had been induced.
Pharma patents account for a large share of patent portfolios and in 2015 the government considered a draft bill on compulsory licensing of patented medicines. After careful consideration of the proposed measure, the government has dismissed the proposal. Experts concluded that compulsory licensing would do more harm than good – the main risk being that leading pharmaceutical companies might quit the Russian market.
An analysis of Russian Patent and Trademark Office administrative cases in 2015 revealed five remarkable cases that affected Russian trademark enforcement practice. These decisions are of interest not only to IP specialists such as trademark attorneys and lawyers, but also to trademark owners.
Brand protection in the digital space has become more complicated recently, with cybersquatters and bad-faith market participants adopting new tactics. This update summarises the different categories of online trademark infringement and related court practice in Russia, and provides an overview of enforcement strategies against infringing domain names and websites and the unauthorised use of trademarks in metatags or as keywords.
Recent amendments to the the Law on Protection of Competition have expanded the provisions relating to intellectual property. The revised law enables businesses to fight infringement in situations where classic IP enforcement law is forceless – for example, where there are no IP rights protecting the appearance or packaging of a product, but another party offers for sale a similar product (or one with similar packaging) which misleads consumers.