The IP rights environment has become very internationally-focused lately. IP owners have many opportunities to protect their IP rights globally, but enforcement of IP rights is still mainly based on national requirements and processes with country specifics and peculiarities. This is also the case in Russia.
Will parallel imports become entirely legal in Russia?
The question about the legitimacy of parallel import has been open in Russia for several years now.
Parallel import has been thus far considered illegal, but a new wave of decisions started in 2017 when the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) issued a warning notice to Daimler AG, Renault, KYB Corporation and YD-Diagnostics, suggesting that these organizations are restricting competition and violating the antimonopoly legislation. These companies refused to consent to the parallel import of goods. The warning notice was based on a petition received from unauthorized importers of goods.
KYB Corporation appealed the warning notice to the Moscow Commercial Court. The decision of the Court which was issued on 13 December 2017 supported the same position as FAS. The Court stated that the import of goods does not lead to any confusion, and does not pose a threat to the public interests. Further, it confirmed that “these actions conflict with the principles of integrity, reasonableness and fairness and, generally, are contrary to individual, collective and public rights and legitimate interests of the civil circulation participants; and therefore, comprise the elements of unfair competition.” The Court decision has further been appealed by KYB Corporation.
At the same time the Constitutional Court of Russia is also considering the parallel import issue. The final status of the question about parallel import may be determined through Court decisions in the near future.
We will continue to closely monitor this issue. For further information please contact Ms Annikki Hämäläinen.