IP in Russia and Ukraine
An update on the latest sanctions on Russia and information relating to intellectual property (IP) in Russia and Ukraine.
IPReg update on provision of legal advisory services
The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2023 is in force, as of 3rd July 2023.
IPReg further updated its guidance on 12th July 2023.
IPReg’s note states that that "Attorneys and firms should consider Regulation 54D carefully to determine whether they apply to their practice, and take legal advice if they have any doubt.”
EUIPO new extension of time limits for parties in Ukraine
The Executive Director has issued Decision EX-23-6 granting a new extension of time limits to all parties in proceedings before the Office having their residence or registered office in Ukraine.
The extension entered into force on 25th May 2023 and extends all time limits expiring between 5th June 2023 and 14th September inclusive until 15th September 2023. More information is available here.
EUIPO - New extension of time limits – Ukraine
The Executive Director has issued Decision EX-23-1 granting a new extension of time limits to all parties in proceedings before the EUIPO having their residence or registered office in Ukraine.
The new two-month extension published on 30th January 2023 extends all time limits expiring between 2nd February 2023 and 2nd April inclusive until 3rd April 2023. It follows Decisions EX-22-9, EX-22-8, EX-22-5, EX-22-4 and EX-22-2 of the Executive Director which had extended previous time limits.
The EUIPO says it "will continue to review the need for further extensions and additional measures as we move forward".
SRA guidance - 28th Nov 2022
Recently the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) published guidance which sets out risk factors and red flags for circumvention of the sanctions framework that firms should look out for. Click here to read the guidance
Legal fees general licence
The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has issued General Licence INT/2022/2252300 which allows a UK legal firm or counsel to immediately receive or make payments concerning designated persons in Russia and Belarus.
If you are planning to use the general licence, please read the terms carefully and in full.
IPReg has published further information on this. Click here to read IPReg’s update
New sanctions - 30th Sept 2022
New sanctions, that specifically incude "transactional legal advisory services for certain commercial activity" have been placed on Russia by the UK Government following the annexation of regions of eastern Ukraine.
"The new legal advisory measures will cover certain commercial and transactional services and hamper Russia’s businesses’ ability to operate internationally,"
IPReg is looking into what this means for intellectual property. It said on its website that it is "aware that the Government has said that it is extending sanctions to include "transactional legal advisory services". IPReg has asked the Ministry of Justice for further information about what this includes. We will publish more information here when it becomes available."
Initial sanctions on Russia
The UK Government announced a suite of sanctions against Russia, its major financial institutions and individuals.
The Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation has also published information, and a search tool to find sanctioned entities and individuals.
Thomson Reuters Practical Law has published a toolkit which provides useful information on Russia sanctions and related considerations.
Making payments to Russian firms
With thanks to CIPA for the following information on payments:
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is subject to UK sanctions. It is widely understood that the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Rospatent, banks at the Central Bank. This leads to the question:
If I pay a non-sanctioned Russian agent, or organisation, in order to file/maintain rights and that payment ends up with the Central Bank, am I in breach of sanctions?
Following meetings with government officials, it is our understanding that fees can be paid to Rospatent without fear of breaching sanctions, unless they are being paid by, or on behalf of, someone on the UK sanctions list. This is because the Central Bank of the Russian Federation has been designated in a different way to commercial banks. The relevant regulation prohibits the provision of financial services, not the filing and maintaining of IP rights.
Members have also enquired about the status of UniCredit, in relation to the filing of Eurasion patent applications. It is CIPA’s understanding that UniCredit is not subject to UK sanctions.
You should not consider the above guidance as legal advice and should make your own checks regarding sanctioned individuals and organisations using the links above.
UK government support
The government has asked the Export Support Service (ESS) to support business who have questions or concerns. If you have a question about trading with Ukraine or Russia, use the dedicated online service or call 0300 303 8955.
The Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg) has published a updated guidance on Russia and UK IP business.
UK IPO statement
The UK IPO published a statement on 2nd March 2022. It states: “The UK’s economic sanctions against Russia include intellectual property, and we are enforcing these sanctions robustly.”
The UK IPO goes on to reassure Ukrainian customers, saying that it will use the “maximum flexibility available to us in law to consider requests for extensions of time, reinstatements and restorations.”
Ukrainian Intellectual Property Institute (UIPI)
The UIPI published a statement on 1st March to confirm that it remains operational.
It issued an update on 22nd March confirming that the department for trade marks was still continuing to work. More than 150 trade mark applications have been received
The Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry declared martial law on 24th February for 30 days and so all business related deadlines are suspended for this time.
European Patent Office (EPO)
In a statement published on 1st March 2022, the EPO announced it was freezing its “co-operation activities with the national patent offices of the Federation of Russia and of Belarus, as well as to put on hold co-operation activities with the Eurasian Patent Organisation”.
On 9th March 2022 the EUIPO announced that it had "halted all cooperation actions with Rospatent, the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, and the Eurasian Patent Organisation (EAPO)".
On LinkedIn EUIPO Executive Director Christian Archambeau said: "In these darkest of times for Europe, we are closely monitoring the situation, as everyone is.
"My colleagues and I stand by Ukraine, and we are ready to take whatever action is required in full coordination with the EU Institutions."
Via Twitter WIPO Director General Daren Tang said: "WIPO has always worked toward one goal: to ensure that intellectual property supports innovation and creativity to improve lives across the globe.
"War destroys lives, property and the spirit that allows innovation and creativity to thrive. It is anathema to our work and values as an international organization and a United Nations agency.
"We are shocked and heartbroken at the loss of life and devastation in Ukraine and join others in calling for an immediate end to hostilities. Peace must prevail."
We will publish further updates on this page.Page last updated at 9am BST 17th July 2023.