les Nouvelles
Linked InFacebookYouTubeTwitter

les Nouvelles Article of the Month

Russian Patent Law Considerations For Business Part I

R. Page HellerR. Page Heller

Hope Creek, Director, Center for Technology Commercialization, Nat'l University of Sci.& Tech., MISiS &
President, Hope Creek, Moscow, Russia & College Station, TX, USA

This is Part I of a three part series on Russian patent law. It is a summary of Russian patent law prepared for use in business transactions dealing with intellectual property. It is not intended to be a legal reference for the subject. It is intended to provide a working knowledge of the patent system to ease concerns of businesses working with Russian companies. Part I provides a general overview; Part II discusses points of interest for business transactions dealing with patents; and Part III provides a helpful table of contents and discusses peculiarities in terminology which differ in Russian and English law.

The patent law in force today is rather new to Russia. The law, Part IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, was effective January 1, 2008, with some administrative parts only effective as late as June 5, 2009.1

It is a first-to-file system. It addresses several types of intellectual property: copyright, inventions, utility models, industrial designs and a means of individualization (trademark and trade names), to name a few. Plants are included under invention patents, as are biological materials and chemical compositions. The Russian patent law allows for a six month grace period in which one may file after a public disclosure.

Invention patent applications are for significant scientific and technical innovations and follow similar examination procedures to United States utility patent applications. In Russian law, they are distinguished as "technical solutions for products or processes." They must meet the same criteria as the United States patent law provisions for worldwide novelty (absolute novelty), non-obviousness and utility. The Russian law describes these provisions as being new, inventive over prior art, and industrially applicable. Invention patents have a term 20 years from filing. Extensions are available if first market entry doesn't occur within five years of filing, but this is only provided for drug, pesticides and agrochemical patents.

A utility model patent application is for a minor improvement of an invention (doesn't have to be a Russian invention) which has not been previously used in Russia (relative novelty). It does not go through an examination process. In the law, it is distinguished as a "technical solution for an apparatus." It must be new and industrially applicable, leaving out the non-obviousness criterion. They have a term 10 years from filing, extendible by 3 years. Confusion can easily arise between terms used for the Russian utility model patent and U.S. utility patent, which are not similar in scope. The United States does not have any patent similar to a utility model patent, but approximately thirty other countries do.

Design patent applications are similar to those in the United States. Design patents have a term 15 years from filing, extendible by 10 years.

Regarding utility model patents, most countries that employ a utility model concept are seeing it phase out. Applications are dropping in number year after year, except in China and Russia. Countries of interest that have a utility model in their laws are: Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and Spain.2 It is explained that utility models provide a less expensive way for "small scale innovators and artisans" to get local protection in an effort to help them stay in business.3

Internationally, the Paris Convention does not recognize a utility model patent in its classification of intellectual property, but it does allow for filing such applications within the grace period allowed for other kinds of protection, like invention patents. For instance, one may file a utility model patent application in Russia within twelve months of filing a utility patent in the United States, or vice versa.4

One may not, under Russian law, obtain both invention and utility model patents for the same invention.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty defines the term "patent" to include utility models in a long list of intellectual property. Thus, it is covered by the PCT. The Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement does not mention utility models, but allows countries to adopt whatever additional intellectual property protection they feel appropriate.

The utility model patent historically comes from Germany, where it was adopted in 1891. There, it basically had the same provisions as today in Russia. In China, where it was introduced in 1984, there have always been more utility model applications than invention applications.5

It would make an interesting study to review case law around these lesser patents (also called petty patents), if there is any.

Not allowed for patenting are:6

  • human cloning technologies
  • techniques for modifying the genetic integrity of human embryo cells
  • use of human embryos for industrial and commercial purposes
  • other solutions inconsistent with public interest and humane or moral principles
  • discoveries
  • rules and methods of intellectual activities
  • varieties of plants and animals and biological methods for producing them, except microbiological methods and products produced by such methods.

During patent application prosecution, it is common in the U.S. to receive objections to the nonobviousness criterion. In Russia, this is accompanied by common objections in the industrial applicability, especially in the field of chemistry. An invention is deemed industrially applicable if it can be used in industry, agriculture, public health and other branches of economy or in the social sphere.

The Russian Patent Office (Rospatent) has a division, the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property Rights (FIPS), which manages patent prosecution. FIPS in turn has a division, the Chamber for Patent Disputes (CDP), which administratively handles appeals and court decisions.

Russia is a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and has been since 1978. To file a PCT application, however, one must file with Rospatent so a determination may be made that the application does not contain a state secret. Stated in other words, to secure a patent anywhere on a Russian-made invention, it is necessary to first file a Russian patent application or file a PCT application originating in Russia and designating Russia.

It is possible, I believe, to submit a document for review that is not specifically a patent application, but may be reviewed for clearance to file elsewhere. In either case, if one has not been notified by Rospatent that the invention is a state secret within six months, one may file in other countries. Expediting the review is possible.

One may also file a Eurasia patent application, which is handled much like a European Union application. In this case, the examination will apply to all Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries (think former Soviet Union except for the Baltic states). The Eurasia patent application must be filed in Russia, if Russian protection is desired.

Applications are published 18 months from filing or entering national stage. Unlike the United States, examination of a patent application only occurs when one submits a formal request, which must arrive at the patent office within three years of filing. The request may be made by the applicant or by a third party. If no request is received, the application is considered withdrawn.

Applications must be in the Russian language. Rejections may be formed based on translation errors, and often are. So, using a translator familiar with the technological area is a good idea. Amendments can be made easily as long as they do not change the essence of the invention as established in the "priority documents." A point of confusion may arise here since Russian priority documents consist of the original application filing, whereas the term describes prior art in other countries.

Infringement litigation is handled by the regular jurisdictional courts. As one can imagine, the rural areas may not be as competent as the major cities. In 2013, a special Intellectual rights court to handle such kinds of disputes shall be established. The administrative paperwork is immense. For instance, foreign documents entered as evidence must first be authenticated and legalized (notarized and carrying an apostille stamp) and translated into Russian, if necessary. Litigation history is young, so there is not a lot of case law.

Here is an English version which may be used as a reference to Russian Patent Law:

Part IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, brought into force on January 1, 2008 by Federal Law No.231-FZ of 18.12.2006

Historically, the earliest origins of this law came in the form of a manifesto of Emperor Alexander I on the seventeenth of June 1812, called the "Manifesto on privileges for inventions and discoveries in the arts and sciences."7

In 1931, the laws changed to include state ownership of intellectual property, rather than private ownership. With Perestroika, a broad program of economic, social, and ideological reform led by Mikhail Gorbachev, came an effort to recreate patent law modeling western systems. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 preceded the culmination of the new laws, however, leaving the country in disarray. The next decade brought many new laws enacted to eventually form what exists today.

The present form of patent law closely matches many European nations and therefore is very similar to law in North America and Japan, as well. Most business-related intellectual property transactions made in Russia will be very familiar to companies that reside outside the nation. There are a few notable exceptions which will be discussed in Part II of this series.

  1. Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trade-marks (ROSPATENT), Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Moscow 2008.
  2. These patents are also called Innovation Patents (Australia), Short Term Patents (Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands), Utility Cer- tificates (France), Simple Patents (Indonesia), Utility Solutions (Vietnam) and Utility Innovations (Malaysia).
  3. "Uma Suthersanen-Utility Models and Innovation in Developing Countries," February 2006-UNCTAD-ICTSD Project on IPRs and Sustainable Development, Issue paper No.13, available at    http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/iteipc20066_en.pdf.
  4. Article 4E(2) of the Paris Convention.
  5. Discussion Paper, India, http://dipp.nic.in/ipr-feedback/Utility_Models_13May2011.pdf.
  6. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 72, Art 1349, paragraph
  7. "Researching Intellectual Property Law In The Russian Federation," by Julian Zegelman, published on February 14, 2009, http://www.llrx.com/features/russiaiplaw.htm.

Russian Patent Law Considerations For Business Part II

This is Part II of a three part series on Russian patent law. Part I provides a general overview; Part II discusses points of interest for business transactions dealing with patents; and Part III provides a helpful table of contents and discusses peculiarities in terminology which differ in Russian and English law. Like the other parts, this is prepared for use in business considerations. It is not intended to be a legal reference for the subject. It is intended to provide a working knowledge of the patent system to ease concerns of businesses working with Russian companies.

Where Part I dealt with types of patents and discussed the application process, Part II is designed to aid in the understanding of specific rights associated with patents. Several key factors should be taken into consideration when conducting business transactions with Russian patents, such as in licensing or otherwise acquiring rights.

The basis of Russian law is fundamentally different from the law of the United States in that Russian law grants to the patent holder an exclusive right to use the patent, whereas the U.S. law grants the patent holder the right to exclude others from using. In practice, these two concepts are similar, but in granting the right to use there are several circumstances that pop up which must be addressed in Russian patent law; circumstances which are handled by contract law in the United States.1

Addressing the similarities first, one will note that in both cases, the applicant for a patent is assumed to have rights unless certain facts prevent it. In both cases the invention must have qualities of novelty, usefulness and cannot be obvious to one skilled in the art.2

If there is more than one owner (rightholder), the co-owners generally have the right to proceed independently of one another, except that in Russian law there is a requirement that revenues be shared equally and the law requires all co-inventors to agree to assign a patent to a new owner.3 Consent from all co-owners is as well required to license the patent.

It may be more useful, however, to examine the areas in which Russian law might hold some unique features unfamiliar to those in other countries. To begin, one of the most interesting areas is in the ownership of patent rights. Please recall that this informal discussion is not intended to be used for legal purposes, but instead for business considerations. An attorney familiar with the law should be consulted for more difficult legal matters.

Ownership Issues

In Russian law, like the laws of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and most European countries, employers own patents created by its employees if the patents result from the creators' employment duties or result from a specific task assignment.4 The employee is obligated to report such inventions to his or her employer. This is usually accomplished through a different means, a contract or written agreement between employer and employee rather than by law, in the United States.5

Russian law provides that the employee is entitled to remuneration for each invention for which a patent is issued to the employer, or that is transferred to another party, or that is kept a secret by the employer, or, finally, for each invention for which a patent failed to issue due to action or inaction of the employer, such as in the case when an employer may have failed to pay a fee to the patent office.

To make this scheme of remuneration work, it would seem there would have to be a deadline associated with the employer taking some sort of action; and there is. If the employer fails to file, transfer rights or notify the employee it is being kept secret within 4 months of notification, then the intellectual property is thereafter owned by the employee, but the employer retains a non-exclusive right for the employer's own use. The employee is entitled to remuneration in this case, also, and the cost of the license is determined by contract or by the court.

There are a few additional scenarios to consider. Each is covered in the following paragraphs describing different conditions.

If an invention is created outside the scope of the employee's employment duties and not under an assigned task, then the employee owns the resulting patent. If created outside the scope of employment duties but with use of employer resources, then the employer may demand a non-exclusive license for its own needs or the employer may demand reimbursement of costs incurred by the employer, but not both. Surprisingly, this is not subject to a contract specifying differently. Thus, there is no option to change this condition with a written agreement between the parties. Perhaps upcoming reforms in the law will address this issue sometime in the future.

If created under a contract between a customer and a performer of services (like a contractor) and this contract did not directly provide for creation of the invention, the resulting patent belongs to the performer and the customer enjoys a free, non-exclusive license, unless the contract stipulates otherwise.6 Thus, in the absence of an intellectual property article in a contract for services, the entity providing the services owns the invention.

Licensing Issues

There are issues of law that should be reviewed and considered before entering into a license agreement for rights to a Russian patent. This section touches on some of the most important of these.

First addressed is a clerical point that could have devastating consequences if not properly followed. Contracts granting rights in intellectual property must be registered with the patent office.7 If they are not, the contract is rendered void. The effective date is when it is officially registered.

In an unusual twist, the licensee has the right by law to sublicense (with the consent of the licensor).8 Thus, a license agreement cannot stipulate, for instance, that the licensee does not have the right to sublicense. Add this clause as another case in which a written agreement is not allowed to alter the condition of law.

The law allows the court to grant a license to a party requesting rights in certain cases supported by the existing Code.9 This could occur, for instance, in a situation where the applicant has registered the application as an open license patent, thus reducing his or her fees, but then attempted to prevent someone from licensing the resulting patent. An open license registration is a situation supported by the Code and thus this section dealing with the court's right could allow the court to step in (initiated by the filing of an action) to correct the situation.

Similarly, and perhaps of greater concern, the law allows the Federation to permit use of an invention without consent if the patent holder is notified and remuneration is made. No further restrictions are present in the article, so it is quite open-ended.10 If the invention is a semiconductor technology, the Federation may require a compulsory exclusive noncommercial license for public interest based on the same Article of the Code. This Article of the law has caused a large amount of public and legislative discussion and is a potential target for reform. As of this writing, it has been invoked at least once in a case involving a technology needed for highway construction the State was performing.

A licensee of an exclusive license can enforce their rights against infringers "along with" the patent owner.11 This Article does not contain a stipulation that this can be modified by contract. Thus, a license agreement cannot alter this condition.

There is a provision of the law that is a game-changer for some company intellectual property protection strategies. If an invention is not used in four years of issuance, anyone may sue for a compulsory nonexclusive license providing that the owner refused to grant him a license.12 Thus, in practice, it seems no invention may be patented in order to keep it off the market. Companies employing that strategy could find unplanned licensees in Russia.

Application Issues

Some administrative points associated with filing an application for a Russian patent are worth mentioning. These points may be used to answer quick questions the reader might have that led them to find this article; that is, if the questions are about the process in Rospatent, the Russian patent office.

Applicants have a six month grace period to file if they publish or make public their invention.13 This is a shortened period when compared to North America and should be kept in mind if there are plans to publish an enabling description of the invention.

The applicant or anyone else may request a substantive examination within 3 years of filing, which causes the prior-art review to take place.14 In fact, this must be done for the application to issue, otherwise it will be designated withdrawn. In other countries, the examination begins with the filing of the application. In Russia, it begins with a request for substantive examination and payment of its accompanying fee.

An applicant can save some fees if they declare (a) they will assign to the first willing party,15 or (b) work under an open license, available to anyone who applies.16

Applications are published 18 months after filing.17 A PCT application may be filed if in Russia and if Russia is designated.18 A Eurasia application may be filed if in Russia. In all cases, an application written in the Russian language is necessary.19 Patent applications and their resulting patents may be designated secret by the applicant or by the State.20

Post Issuance Topics

Many points of law have been discussed thus far in this article and it is difficult, of course, to predict which might be important to any one particular reader. These points have been categorized in this article under topic headings for the ease of the reader. Some points, however, defy classification. It would be prudent to address a few remaining miscellaneous topics that impact the rights provided by law after the allowance and issuance of a patent.

There are conditions that are exempt from patent infringement. For instance, prior use is allowed to continue.21 In other words, if one was using the invention in a non-public way, they may continue the use, but not expand it. Private use is also allowed, meaning one can use the invention is a home setting, for example, without infringing the patent. One may also use an invention for research.22

If one requires rights of another patent, they must typically gain rights to that patent, just as in other countries. However, they can sue for a compulsory non-exclusive license if they can show theirs is an important technical achievement and has a significant economic advantage over the other.23 The other may request a cross-license under such circumstances and gain rights to the improvement. The courts determine the cost and the scope of the grants.

The term of patent protection for medication, pesticides and agrichemical inventions can be extended up to five years, if certification for their use delays the market entry more than 5 years from issuance.24


In most commonly employed aspects of patent law, Russian law reflects protection policies and procedures closely matched to most other countries. In a number of more specific situations, however, Russian law holds some anomalies that should be considered in a business employing intellectual property rights. For instance, the employer owns a patent when the employee conceives the invention within the scope of their assigned duties, but other cases can occur when the employee may own the resulting patent. When licensing a technology, it is important to be aware that the Russian Federation has unrestricted rights to require a non-exclusive license be granted to another party. If the subject of a patent is not used in four years, others can gain rights through the courts. When applying for a patent, one must formally request examination or the application will be considered withdrawn. These and other circumstances of the law should be taken into consideration in business transactions involving Russian patents.

  1. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 72, Article 1358 "The Exclusive Right to an Invention, Utility Model or Industrial Design."
  2. Ibid Art 1350 "Conditions of Patentability of an Invention."
  3. Ibid Art 1348 "Co-Authors of an Invention, Utility Model, or Industrial Design."
  4. Ibid Art 1370 "Employee's Invention, Utility Model, or In- dustrial Design."
  5. United States Code 35 USC 261 Ownership; Assignment and MPEP, Chapter 301 "Ownership/Assignability of Patents and Applications [R-3]."
  6. Ibid Art 1371 "Invention, Utility Model, or Industrial Design Created in Performance of Work under a Contract."
  7. Ibid Chapter 69, Art 1232 "Official Registration of the Results of Intellectual Activity and Means of Individualization."
  8. Ibid Art 1238 "Sublicense Contract."
  9. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 72, Article 1239 "Compulsory License."
  10. Ibid Chapter 72, Art 1360 "Use of an Invention, Utility Model, or Industrial Design in the Interests of National Security."
  11. Ibid Chapter 69, Art 1254 "Aspects of Enforcement of Licensee's Rights."
  12. Ibid Chapter 72, Art 1362 "Compulsory License to an Invention, Utility Model, or Industrial Design."
  13. Ibid Art 1350 "Conditions of Patentability of an Invention."
  14. Ibid Art 1386 "Substantive Examination of an Application for an Invention."
  15. Ibid Art 1366 "Public Offer to Conclude a Contract on Alienation of the Patent for an Invention."
  16. Ibid Art 1368 "Open License to an Invention, Utility Mod- el, or Industrial Design."
  17. Ibid Art 1385 "Publication of Information on the Applica- tion for an Invention."
  18. Ibid Art 1395 "Patenting Inventions or Utility Models in Foreign States and in International Organizations."
  19. Ibid Art 1396 "International and Eurasian Applications Having the Effect of the Applications Provided for by the Present Code."
  20. Ibid Art 1405 "Exclusive Right to a Secret Invention."
  21. Ibid Art 1361 "Right of Prior Use of an Invention, Utility Model, or Industrial Design."
  22. Ibid Art 1359 "Acts which Shall Not an Infringement of the Exclusive Right to an Invention, Utility Model, or Industrial Design."
  23. Ibid Art 1362 "Compulsory License to an Invention, Utility Model, or Industrial Design."
  24. Ibid Art 1363 "Validity Term of the Exclusive Rights to an Invention, Utility Model, and Industrial Design."

Russian Patent Law Considerations For Business Part III

This is Part III of a three part series on Russian patent law. Part I provides a general overview; Part II discusses points of interest for business transactions dealing with patents; and Part III provides a helpful table of contents and discusses peculiarities in terminology which differsin Russian and English law. Like the previous parts, this is prepared for use in business considerations. It is not intended to be a legal reference for the subject. It is intended to provide working knowledge of the patent system to perhaps ease concerns of businesses working with Russian companies.

It is always difficult to work with a law presented in a different language than one's own working language. To aid English speakers in their use of the Russian law for intellectual property, an unofficial and brief table of contents is presented here. It is possible, and even likely, that this will change within a few years of this publication, since there are continuing discussions of reform in Russian law in the parliament. However, it may serve as a convenient high-level guide to the law for some.

Art 1225-1254 General Provisions
Art 1255-1302 Copyright
Art 1303-1344 Related Rights

  1. Art 1303-1312 General Provisions
  2. Art 1313-1321 Performance
  3. Art 1322-1328 Phonogram
  4. Art 1329-1332 Broadcasting
  5. Art 1333-1336 Database
  6. Art 1337-1344 Works of Science, Literature, Art

Art 1345-1407 Patent Law

  1. Art 1345-1355 General Provisions
  2. Art 1356-1364 Patent Rights
  3. Art 1365-1369 Disposition of Exclusive Right
  4. Art 1370-1373 Created in Line of Work
  5. Art 1374-1397 Patent Grant
  6. Art 1398-1400 Termination and Reinstatement of Validity
  7. Art 1401-1405 Peculiarities of Secret  Inventions
  8. Art 1406-1407 Enforcement of Rights

Art 1408-1447 Selection Attainment (Plant Varieties & Animal Breeds)

  1. Art 1408-1417 General Provisions
  2. Art 1418-1425 Intellectual Rights
  3. Art 1426-1429 Disposition of Exclusive Right
  4. Art 1430-1432 Created in Line of Duty
  5. Art 1433-1445 Grant of a Patent
  6. Art 1446-1447 Enforcement of Rights

Art 1448-1464 Topographies of Integrated Circuits
Art 1465-1472 Secrets of Production (Know-How)
Art 1473-1541 Means of Individualization

  1. Art 1473-1476 Right to Company Name
  2. Art 1477-1515 Trademark & Service Mark
  3. Art 1516-1537 Appellation of Origin (Geographic Name)
  4. Art 1538-1541 Trade Name

Art 1542-1551 Single Technology (that is; Military Application)

There are a few helpful hints that may also assist in the examination of the law in Russia. These helpful hints are compiled from the author's own experience in personally struggling with certain concepts that initially appeared confusing. It is the hope of the author that the following discussion might speed the understanding of the reading.

It is important to note that the author is not an attorney and does not guarantee the accuracy of the interpretation of these concepts and phrases. This article is to be used only for a cursory review of the law for purposes of high-level, not detailed, comprehension of the concepts presented in the law and should not be used for any legal purpose. Consult an attorney if legal consideration of the code becomes necessary.

Several things can speed one's comprehension as the intellectual property law is reviewed. It is hoped that this discussion will be more clarifying than confusing to those reading Russian law who already have a background in the patent laws of North American countries.

For instance, there are certain terms used in the law that are commonly translated into words not familiarly used in the same context in North America. Some of the differences stem from the fact that the Civil Code of the Russian Federation covers all types of intellectual property, including copyrights, patents, trademarks (as well as others), and has general provisions that deal with all types. As an example, Russian law speaks of authors when referring to inventors or applicants (for patents).1 Assignees of patents are described as rightholders.2

In one of the more striking differences, the Russian law refers to the ownership as the exclusive right to the intellectual property.3 In its literal sense, this use of the phrase is probably more correct than its common use in, say, the United States, where the term exclusive right often is used to describe a right which has some conditions imposed on it. For instance, a license granting exclusive rights in the United States commonly refers to a grant of rights in which the ownership of the intellectual property remains with the original patent holder and all rights are granted to another party only if they meet certain conditions, like performance milestones.

In the context of Russian law, an agreement conveying or assigning exclusive rights would transfer the ownership of the intellectual property to a new owner. When first reading the Russian Civil Code, it is easy to confuse the conveyance of an exclusive right with the grant of an exclusive right.

Actually, to be precise, United States patent law also describes an assignment of ownership as conveying an exclusive right in a written instrument.4 It is simply not used frequently enough to cause confusion.

It is common practice in Russia, however, to speak of an exclusive license (as opposed to exclusive rights) in somewhat the same context as the United States. In this case, an exclusive license may be conditional.

Know-how is a term commonly used in North America to describe intellectual property that consists of specific knowledge of how to get something done, representing a set of skills and procedures, some of which could be perfected into patents, copyright or trademarks. Know-how could also become a trade secret if the handling of the know-how meets certain criteria.

Russian law refers to a body of intellectual property apart from patents, copyrights and trademarks as production secrets, secrets of production or knowhow. 5 The civil code referring to intellectual property known by these phrases corresponds to the concept of trade secrets in North America, thus eliminating the distinction between know-how and trade secrets.

In another example, the phrase "single technology" used in Russian law can be confusing since the phrase does not seem to reflect its actual meaning in English. It refers to a technology which may be used for military applications.6 It includes those technologies singularly used for defense as well as dual-use technologies, which have both military and commercial applicability. The Articles relating to Single Technology are slated for removal in the next revision of the Patent Law underway as of this writing.

"Selection attainment" in Russian law refers to a set of technologies directed to the breeding of animals and the obtainment of certain selective varieties of plants. Certain articles of the Code deal specifically with this subject matter.7

Finally, an "Appellation of Origin" in Russian law refers to the name associated with a geographic region or territory of the Russian Federation which has some exclusive natural conditions or human factors that determine specific properties of goods.8 This is the same concept as that referred to by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as Geographical Indications used to identify products with a region, like Champagne, Tequila or Roquefort.9

With a generalized table of contents in English and a working knowledge of some of the more difficult-to translate phrases in the Russian Civil Code, one may be able to expedite the understanding of Russian patent law. Once the differences are noted, it is possible to recognize that parallels exist in the laws of other countries and many of the previously unfamiliar terms become familiar. A general business understanding of patents in Russia is attainable with only a short course on the subject offered in this three part article.


Special thanks go to Konstantin Bochkarev, White & Case, for his review of the article.

MOSCOW 02.10.2011, ©2011, R. Page Heller, All Rights Reserved

  1. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 69, Article 1228 "Author of a Result of Intellectual Activity."
  2. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 69, Article 1229 "Exclusive Right."
  3. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 69, Article 1226 "Intellectual Rights."
  4. United States Patent Code, Chapter 26, 35 U.S.C 261 Ownership;  Assignment.
  5. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 75 "Right to Secrets of Production (Know-How)."
  6. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 77 "Right to Use the Results of Intellectual Property in the System of Single Technology."
  7. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 73 "Right to a Selection Attainment."
  8. Civil Code of the Russian Federation, Part IV, Section VII, Chapter 76, Subsection 3, "Right to an Appellation of Origin."
  9. http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/gi_background_e.htm.