Russian Government Takes Powers to Appropriate IP Rights Without Compensation Where Proprietors are from “Unfriendly Countries”
The government of the Russian Federation has adopted on 7 March 2022 a decree which provides that no compensation is payable when a patent, utility model or industrial design is subjected to a compulsory license, if the proprietor is from a country carrying out “unfriendly activities”. The list of countries deemed to be carrying out “unfriendly” activities in relation to the Russian Federation was published on 5 March 2022, and includes 48 states. The list includes the United Kingdom, all of the member states of the European Union, several other European countries, the United States of America, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
This decree affects owners of patent, utility models or industrial designs who are:
- nationals of said countries,
- are registered in said countries,
- have said countries as their main place of business, or
- are receiving their revenue in said countries.
This effectively gives the Russian government the power to appropriate IP rights without any compensation. It is very likely to contravene the TRIPS agreement, to which the Russian government is a signatory (although we recognise that there is uncertainty as to the willingness of the current Russian government to respect international agreements). The right holders affected by this decree may therefore wish to consider whether they should continue to devote resources to maintaining their rights in Russia.