IP news in Russia: Improvements for trademark holders

5.2.2016

The Law on Protection of Competition has been changed on 5 January 2016 so as to include new regulations on unfair competition in the field of intellectual property. The following are the major improvements.

Bad faith now recognized

The new articles prohibit the registration of IP rights in bad faith. Further, the law prohibits the illegal use of signs similar to trademarks, company names, trade names etc. on packaging and labels, including use on the Internet. Additionally, copying or imitation of the overall appearance of a product, packaging, label, colour, tradename, corporate style or shop windows will also be prohibited, provided that the actions are caused by a competitor. Actions based on unfair competition are handled by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).

Well-known process clarified

The Russian Patent Office has also adopted new regulations on the protection of well-known trademarks.  These regulations include a more detailed process for obtaining the status of a well-known trademark.  The new regulations include a time limit for the process, and the list of documents needed for a mark to be acknowledged as well-known is now exhaustive.

New way to cancel trademark registrations

Further, the Patent Office has adopted a process for cancelling a trademark registration due to dissolution of the owner company/death of the owner. A request for cancellation can be filed by any interested party.  A document confirming the dissolution must be submitted in connection with the request. The Patent Office should decide the case within 5 months.

These changes are very welcome, as trademark owners can now better enforce their IP rights in Russia. The major change is that the competence of the FAS has become wider – it is no longer necessary to apply to the Court to contest IP rights, but the Patent Office may cancel registrations solely based on a decision by the FAS.

For more information please contact Mrs Riikka Palmos, our European Trademark Attorney,  riikka.palmos@papula-nevinpat.com.

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