Russia Adopts Amendments to IP Regulations

Nov 29 2010 - 11:00

The Russian parliament has recently adopted a number of amendments to the Civil Code paragraphs specifically dealing with intellectual property. The amendments entered into force on October 19, 2010.

The changes reflect the relevant World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements and are in line with various international agreements such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Amendments made to paragraph 5 of Article 1229 restrict the exclusive rights granted to the objects of intellectual property, particularly the objects of related rights, inventions, industrial designs and trademarks. Restrictions to the exclusive rights granted to inventions or industrial designs will be made in individual cases, provided that they do not interfere with the normal exploitation of inventions and industrial designs and that they do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of rights holders, taking into account the legitimate interests of third parties. Limitations to the exclusive trademark rights will also be made in individual cases, provided that these restrictions take into account the legitimate interests of right holders and third parties.

Before the amendments, the examiners had the option to refuse to register a trademark identical to the previously registered domain name. The amendments to Article 1483 of the Civil Code exclude this possibility.

Article 1273 that authorizes the reproduction of works by consumers for personal use without the consent of the author or other right holder (and, consequently, without remuneration) was amended by adding the words “if necessary”. However, no explanations have been provided as to what is to be deemed necessary. The law leaves it up to the judges to assess whether the reproduction was necessary or not, which in turn may bring about legal uncertainty. According to Article 1273, holders have the right to receive compensation for the free use of subjects covered by copyright.

Article 1245, which regulates the compensation and the procedure for its collection was amended by Decree No. 829. According to the Article as amended, as from January 1, 2011, the manufacturers and suppliers of multimedia storage devices will be obliged to pay 1 percent of royalties to the authors, performers and producers of music and film. The list of devices is comprehensive and is intended to cover any technology that can be used to play and copy audiovisual content. Apart from the equipment for copying and reproduction (players, DVDs, CDs, etc.), it also includes devices that are not directly associated with reproduction or copying of audiovisual works, such as mobile phones and digital cameras. Forty percent of the collected royalties will be distributed among the music and film authors, 30 percent among the performers and 30 percent among the manufacturers of audiovisual works. The government will decide on the organization to handle the collection of the abovementioned royalties.

Finally, Article 1516 was added to the Civil Code to regulate the protection of geographical denominations that do not contain the name of a geographical object but identify the object as originating from a certain territory. Those designations will be protected under the provisions provided by the Code for the appellations of origin.

Furthermore, Russia recently adopted amendments to the Law on the Licensing of Certain Activities, which are to enter into force on December 6, 2010. The changes were made to tighten the licensing requirements for the producers of optical storage media with content protected by copyright or related rights.

Under the amended Law, companies who have previously had their license revoked by the court will not be able to get a new permit for reproduction of audiovisual works, computer software, databases and phonograms.

The law also establishes a new requirement to obtain the authorization to produce audiovisual works, computer software, databases and phonograms. It is now also necessary to use the production equipment owned by the licensee.

For more information, please contact Alissia Shchichka at our Belgium office.


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November 2010 News