Copyright and related rights
Copyright covers scientific, literary or artistic work that is the product of creative activity regardless of the value, type or mode of expression of the work. Copyright protects both disclosed and undisclosed works. Copyright protection arises when a work is created. There are no registration requirements.
Chapter 70 of the Civil Code gives an author certain rights over his/her work. It sets out exclusive property rights over the work, as well as moral rights for the author of the work.
These exclusive rights include (among other things) the:
- right of reproduction;
- right of distribution;
- right of demonstration to the public;
- right to import or export originals; and
- right to provide access to the work by any means of telecommunication (including the Internet).
Moral rights include in particular the:
- right of authorship;
- right to the name;
- right to preserve the integrity of the work; and
- right of publication.
The exclusive rights to the works are protected for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years.
Infringement of copyright may lead to civil, criminal and/or administrative liability.
Neighbouring rights cover the creation and use of performances, phonograms, broadcasting programmes, cable distribution organisations, and databases.
The owner of neighbouring rights may be the performer of phonograms, the creator of databases or the broadcaster of media.
Under the Civil Code, performers enjoy both exclusive property rights and moral rights, whilst radio and television broadcasters only enjoy exclusive property rights.
The holding and the exercise of neighbouring rights is not subject to any mandatory registration formalities.
The rights enjoyed by owners of neighbouring rights may be granted by virtue of a licence agreement or a contract for the exclusive assignment of rights.
Online audio-visual platforms
Regulations governing online platforms used for the creation and distribution of audio-visual works came into force on 1 July 2017. The regulations cover the following platforms, in particular:
- information systems; and
- computer programmes.
The regulations will, however, only apply to platforms:
- that provide access to audio-visual works for a fee or on the condition that the viewers watch advertisements; and
- having a daily audience of at least 100,000 Russian-based users.
The owners of audio-visual platforms must comply with a number of obligations. These include, for example, a prohibition on the dissemination of certain information, specific requirements on the dissemination of information to the general public and the ensuring that its content is subject to age-based restrictions, where appropriate.
The liability of legal entities for violations ranges from RUB 300,000 (EUR 4,2901) to RUB 3m (EUR 42,900). Violations can also lead to the blocking of the audio-visual platform by order of the court.
The Russian Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (i.e. “Roskomnadzor”) maintains a register of such audio-visual platforms.
Moreover, such platforms can only be owned by Russian legal entities or Russian citizens that are not also citizens of other countries. Foreigners are permitted to own such Russian legal entities but there are some limitations on specific foreign operators.
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Patent protection covers:
- inventions, which are a technical solution in any field related to a product or a process;
- utility models, which are the devices that are the result of intellectual activity in the scientific and technical spheres; and
- industrial designs, which are the result of intellectual activity in relation to the appearance of the product.
Chapter 72 of the Civil Code regulates the protection of inventions, utility models and industrial designs.
Patent protection is subject to conditions, which depend on the type of object being protected.
An invention can only be protected if it:
• is new;
• has an inventive step; and
• is capable of industrial application
A utility model can only be protected if it is:
• new; and
• capable of industrial application
An industrial design can be protected only if it is:
• new; and
The concepts of dependent invention, dependent utility model and dependent industrial designs are defined in the Civil Code. To use them, it will be necessary to be authorised by the patent holder of the inventions, utility models or industrial designs. Without such authorisation, the dependent objects of intellectual property cannot be used. Unlike copyright, which protects the author's work from the day of its creation, a patent is only protected after being registered with Rospatent. The right to obtain a patent belongs to the inventor, his/her employer (in case of an employee's invention) or to their assignee(s). The patent application is filed with Rospatent for examination. Rospatent will grant the patent if the relevant criteria are met.
The maximum duration for patent protection is as follows:
- 20 years from the filing date of a patent application for an invention, with the possibility of up to a five-year patent term extension for pharmaceutical products, pesticides and agrochemicals;
- ten years from the filing date of a utility model application; and
- five years from the filing date of an industrial design application, with the possibility of up to a five-year term extension, which may be renewed so that the entire period of life of a design patent may be up to 25 years.
According to the Civil Code, inventions and, as of June 2019 industrial designs, are also subject to temporary protection during the registration process. Once the relevant patent is granted, the owner may demand payment of remuneration for the use of the invention/industrial design during the registration term.
The patent licence and/or any assignment agreement need to be registered with Rospatent. It is also possible to obtain a compulsory licence, following the decision of a court. Rospatent also registers open patent licences, which may be chosen by the owner of the patent.
Industrial design applicants no longer need to file a list of essential features of the design by registration, which had traditionally been serving as the basis for determining the scope of protection of the design. This means that designs are protected within the scope of the image of the design and its description. This change has narrowed the scope of protection of industrial designs.
International and regional registration
In addition to national registration, there are also two levels at which inventions can be protected, namely: at international and regional levels.
At international level, an invention can be protected by the International Patent System. By filing one international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), applicants can protect an invention in more than 153 PCT contracting states.
Russia has been a party to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs since 28 February 2018. This enables the protection of industrial designs in Russia (as well as in many other countries) through a new procedure that is faster and cheaper than filing an international application for data protection.
Alternatively, an invention can be protected at regional level on the basis of a single Eurasian patent valid within the territory of the nine member states of the Eurasian Patent Convention (EAPC).
On 9 September 2019, the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union adopted the Protocol on the Protection of Industrial Designs to the EAPC which entitles applicants to receive a single Eurasian patent on industrial designs by filing a single application. The Protocol has not yet been implemented in Russian law, but is likely to come in force in 2020. If so, this will make the regional patent registration procedure much more convenient.
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Trade secrets and know-how
IP-related information and professional activity methods which have actual (or potential) commercial value can be defined as a trade secret or know-how as long as the necessary criteria are met. In particular, the information must be unknown to third parties because there is no free access to it. Further, the owner of the trade secret must take active measures to protect the secret and ensure that there is no free access to it (in particular, by implementing the so-called “trade secrecy regime”).
The Law on Trade Secrets2 defines the information that constitutes a trade secret and lists the measures that the right owner should take in order to ensure the protection of know-how. The law also provides for civil, administrative and criminal liability for a breach of trade secret rights.
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Employees’ work and employees’ inventions
The Civil Code regulates employees’ work. This includes copyrighted works and patented objects that are created by employees as part of their employment duties or the tasks instructed by the employer.
As a general rule, exclusive rights to the results of an employee’s intellectual activities belong to the employer.
However, if the employer fails to use, license or assign its employees’ work within a prescribed period, or the employer fails to notify the employee that it has decided to keep the work secret, the exclusive rights to the work (or invention) will be transferred to its author, i.e. the employee. This does not apply to know-how.
If the employer has started to use the work, assigned the rights to it, or has decided to keep it secret, the employee is entitled to be remunerated as agreed by the parties. If the parties fail to agree on the amount, then a competent court may determine the remuneration. Specific rules3 regulate the amount of remuneration of employee inventors of patentable inventions, industrial designs and/or utility models (“IP Objects”). They set minimum amounts for three different types of compensation, namely for: (i) the creation of a patentable IP Object; (ii) use of an IP Object by the employer; and (iii) the licensing or assignment of an IP Object by the employer.
The right to remuneration from the employer is not inheritable. However, the rights from the agreement concluded between the employee and the employer, as well as any outstanding remuneration which the employer has not paid, are transferred to the employee’s heirs.
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