As a result of the tense and politically unstable state of affairs between Ukraine and Russia, many government officials, intergovernmental organizations and citizens of both these countries are preoccupied with emerging humanitarian-related issues. At the same time, IP practitioners are evaluating the potential practical consequences of these events for trademark owners. Current and potential trademark owners, and IP practitioners from other countries, need to understand and evaluate the practical effects of these circumstances on their practices.
Article 6 of the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea of March 18, 2014 (the Treaty), establishes a transitional period, from the date of the Treaty until January 1, 2015, for resolution of the issues associated with the integration of the Republic of Crimea and the Federal City of Sebastopol into the economic, financial, credit and legal system of the Russian Federation.
Article 9 of the Treaty provides that the Laws of Russia and the Federal Regulations (including Russian IP laws and regulations) are valid in the territory of the Republic of Crimea and the Federal City of Sebastopol effective March 18, 2014.
Thus, IP-related issues associated with the current status of Crimea should be mostly resolved within the transitional period—that is, before January 1, 2015. However, the legal status of Crimean IP owners and their IP rights, which used to be valid and enforceable in the territory of Ukraine, including Crimea, has changed.
From a practical point of view, effective March 18, 2014, Russian patents and trademarks are valid and enforceable in the territory of Crimea, while Ukrainian patents and trademarks are no longer considered valid or enforceable. This is particularly important for foreign patent and trademark owners to note.
One possible solution to the issue of the collision of the exclusive rights of Crimean IP owners with the exclusive rights of non-Crimean IP owners in Russia might be to adopt a version of the system used during the integration of East Germany into West Germany in 1990. Thus, it may be the case that the current exclusive rights of Crimean and non-Crimean Russian IP owners would be valid and enforceable in the entire territory of Russia, and in case of collision with non-Crimean exclusive rights originating in Russia, Crimea-originated rights would be enforceable only in the territory of Crimea, and vice versa.
In the meantime, the Russian Patent and Trademark Office is now accepting simplified petitions for confirmation of Crimean exclusive IP rights that were originally registered in Ukraine. It is anticipated that now, as well as in the future, no automatic extension of the original Ukrainian IP rights will take place—in each case an official confirmation by the Russian Patent and Trademark Office would be required.
Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.
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