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Living in parallel reality

5 April 2022

We are living in turbulent days. Almost every day one may witness interpretation by IP practitioners of several decrees issued by the Russian government. The decrees are:

  • No 3718-p of Dec.31,2020. The government allowed the use of several patents for one year without permission of the patent owners because of dramatic situation with Covid-19.
  • No 3915-p of Dec.28,2021. The government extended permission for one more year because of continued pandemic.
  • No 1767 of Oct.18,2021 The government ordered compensation for the use of the above patents – 0.5% of the proceeds of the Russian producer of the drug.
  • No 299 of March 06,2021 The government ordered “0” compensation for the use of the above patents because the owners are residents of an “unfriendly country”.

As may be seen, all decrees center around a drug for the treatment of Covid-19. Nothing else is implied.

This last decree triggered a raft of articles in the media. Surprisingly, almost all article generalize the extent of the decree. Just several examples:

  • The Russian government has decreed that owners of Russian patents from designated “unfriendly” countries will not be entitled to any compensation for use of their patents.
  • The Russian government has decreed that owners of Russian patents from “unfriendly” countries will not be entitled to any compensation for use of their patents.
  • Owners of Russian patents should not expect to be able to enforce their patent rights in Russia in the near term.

Some authors include trademarks in the scope of their analysis of the situation though trademarks are not mentioned in any of the decrees..

Such citations may be continued without end. It seems that the authors did not see the texts of those decrees or, if they did, they did not link together the contents of the decrees. The result is that many IP owners are misled and may take wrong decisions regarding their IP.

Perhaps foreign authors take their inspiration from some Russian media that unfortunately are nourished by the same misunderstanding which for them, is unforgivable. They could just take the original texts of the decrees and read them with some attention

The same concerns enforcement. Those authors infer that since free use is allegedly allowed there can be no enforcement of patents. Practice proves the opposite.

In a case several days ago the court of appeal in Moscow dismissed a claim by a Russian company registered in Switzerland against Samsung. The Russian company patented “A system of electronic payments” and wanted to ban Samsung from selling its smartphones in Russia with Samsung Pay software embedded in the smartphones. More to it, soon after that the patent of the Russian company was invalidated by the Chamber of Patent Disputes. It can be seen from that that enforcement of rights of foreign companies remains efficient.

It does not seem possible to build a dam against the stream of untrustworthy information so one may only hope that IP owners will treat more critically information coming from authors not having firsthand knowledge of the facts.

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