IP in Russia and Ukraine
An update on the latest sanctions on Russia and information relating to intellectual property (IP) in Russia and Ukraine.
Sanctions on Russia
The UK Government has 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)".
The EUIPO added that it has granted a one-month extension from 24th February "for all parties in proceedings before the Office having their residence or registered office in Ukraine, and will review the need for further extensions and additional measures as we move forward".
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 5pm BST 9th June 2022.