March 11, 2022
In a stunning escalation of the rift between Russia and the West, the Russian Federation has issued an edict allowing its citizens to copy and use Western patents without payment or authority. Regulation No. 299, issued and effective as of March 6, 2022, amends the prior decree on licensing patents to state Russians will pay 0% to any person or entity who resides in an unfriendly nation for the use of the patents. The Russian Federation has also issued a list of 48 unfriendly nations, including countries as diverse as the United States, Canada, Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, among others. A similar amendment is expected to be issued soon pertaining to trademarks.
This change in law is unprecedented and risks a flood of infringing product entering international commerce through markets with which Russia still maintains trade relations. Moreover, even if a company does not currently do business in Russia, if it comes from one of the designated "unfriendly nations," its patents may be used without permission, compensation, or consequence in the Russian Federation. Careful vigilance of Russian competitors and startups is therefore warranted.
If you currently own a patent or trademark or are in the process of obtaining a patent or trademark that might be affected by this edict and any decree that follows, please contact your GrayRobinson intellectual property attorney to discuss implications and border protection options. If you do not have a relationship with a GrayRobinson intellectual property counsel, please contact Intellectual Property Section Chair Jorge Espinosa for more information.