A specialized Court for Intellectual Property Disputes will be established in Russia
On 23 November 2011 the State Duma adopted in the third reading the Law “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in connection with the creation of the Court for intellectual property Disputes” (the “Law”). The Law introduces amendments to several regulations: the Law “On Status of Judges”, the Arbitrazh Procedure Code and part 4 of the Civil Code. The Law provides for the creation in Russia of a specialized Court for intellectual property disputes (the “IP Court”).
The Law is still to be approved by the Federation Council and signed by the President. The effective date of the Law is still to be determined as well.
The Law introduces the concept of a “specialized arbitrazh court” and the new IP Court will become the first “specialized arbitrazh court” in Russia.
The jurisdiction of the IP Court will include the following categories of disputes:
1) Challenges to the regulatory and legal acts of the federal executive authorities in the area of the protection of intellectual property rights, and concerning the rights and lawful interests of the applicant in the mentioned area;
2) Cases concerning the grant or termination of legal protection of intellectual property (except for copyright, neighbouring rights, and topologies of integrated microcircuits), including:
- challenges to non-normative acts, decisions and actions (including omissions) of Rospatent, federal executive body responsible for patenting genetic modifications in plants and animals, as well as the federal executive bodies authorized to consider an application for a Patent for a secret invention;
- challenges to the decisions of the antimonopoly authority, recognising the acquisition of the exclusive right to the commercial branding of the legal entity, trademarks or service marks, as an act of unfair competition;
- the determination of Patent holders;
- the invalidation of a Patent for invention, utility model, industrial design or genetic innovations in plant varieties and animal breeds, a decision to grant legal protection to a trademark, appellation of origin and granting exclusive rights to this appellation, unless otherwise provided by law; and
- the early termination of legal protection for a trademark on the grounds of its non-use.
IP Court Procedure and Appeal
Decisions of the IP Court come into force immediately, and can only be appealed to the same IP Court.
In general, the IP Court acts as the court of cassation and reviews two categories of cases:
1) Cases reviewed by the same IP Court in the first instance;
2) Cases on the protection of intellectual property rights that have been reviewed by “ordinary” arbitrazh courts of the first and appellate instance (e.g the cases on the IP issues, which are not referred to the exclusive jurisdiction of the IP Court).
The new Law also stipulates the special transitional provisions for the certain categories of cases. For example, for the early termination of the legal protection of a trademark on the grounds of its non-use, the relevant application will be required to be submitted to the Arbitrazh court instead of the Chamber for Patent Disputes.
Moreover, if such an application is submitted to the Chamber for Patent Disputes before the Law comes into force, then it will be reviewed by the Chamber, and if the application is filed after the effective date of the Law, then it will be considered by the Moscow City Arbitrazh Court until the establishment of the IP Court.
The creation of the IP Court is aimed at facilitating the review of disputes in the IP area and relieving the Moscow City Arbitrazh Court from the great number of the disputes litigated between Rospatent, on the one side, and private entrepreneurs or legal entities on the other side.