Trademarks in Russia and the CIS countries
Protecting your trademark in Russia and other CIS countries
You can protect your trademark in Russia through a national or an international application. National applications are filed in Russian with the Russian intellectual property office Rospatent by local registered trademark attorneys. The application must contain your name and address, the proposed trademark including a description of the mark, and a list of the goods/services for which you want to register the trademark. Rospatent uses the international classification of goods and services under the Nice Agreement.
What can you register?
You can register words, figures, slogans, and combinations of words and figures as a trademark. Also three-dimensional marks, sound marks and the commercial look of packages can be registered. You can protect your trademark in Latin or Cyrillic letters, but if you register a trademark in Latin letters, you don’t automatically secure protection for the same mark in Cyrillic letters, and conversely.
After you’ve filed your application, Rospatent will examine if the mark meets the conditions for registration and find out if there are any prior rights which could prevent your mark from being registered. The whole process will take about 1.5 – 2 years. At the time of registration, you will have to pay a registration fee. Once registered, your trademark will be considered protected by trademark rights from the date you filed the application.
Period of validity & use
A registered trademark is valid for ten years from the filing date, and you can renew it every ten years. As a trademark holder you’ll have the exclusive right to use the mark, and the right to forbid others from using your mark.
In Russia, you have to factually use your trademark within three years of registration. If you don’t use your mark, it may be revoked due to non-use. The obligation to use a trademark is strictly enforced in Russia, and trademark holders or registered license holders may have to be able to prove that they have really used their mark. Russian officials may require for example customs documents, distribution agreements or invoices as the proof of use.
The trademark protection process in other CIS countries is largely the same as the process in Russia, with minor variations by country. There is no regional registration system, so you have to file a separate application in each country where you want to register your trademark.
Folke Johansson, who heads our firm’s patent department, and Markku Simmelvuo, our Managing Director, were both ranked in the patent category in Finland. In Russia, Marina Smirnova was ranked in both the patent and trademark categories.
The proposal for the new Finnish Trademarks Act is currently under consideration by the Parliament, and the Act is expected to enter into force in early 2019. The purpose of the reform is to modernize Finnish regulations on trademark rights, and implement the EU Trademark Directive.