Changes to the intellectual property laws in Russia and what this means for you

Written by Mohammad Khan | March 16, 2022

Intellectual Property

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing economic sanctions imposed against Russia have meant that any business activity relating to these markets has been impacted in several ways. In our latest blog, we discuss how changes to Russian legislation in response to these sanctions has changed the way in which intellectual property infringement is sanctioned.

Intellectual property rights protect the rights afforded to persons over their creations. These can be registered rights or unregistered and are formed through different means. If infringed, the sanctions imposed can range from anything from an injunction to multi-million financial penalties. The reputation, brand image, idea or creation are at stake and so naturally, the stakes are high.

It is therefore alarming that in response to the sanctions imposed on Russia, Russian media outlets are reporting that the country has passed legislation effectively legalising intellectual property piracy for countries that it has termed as ‘unfriendly’. Due to the current circumstances surrounding access to reliable news sources from Russia, it is difficult to fully ascertain information relating to these developments. However, there is strong indication that the Russian state is supporting such changes including requesting the unblocking of certain piracy websites. Most prominent reports suggest that legislation has been amended to change the maximum penalty for intellectual property infringement relating to ‘unfriendly countries’ to zero, thereby removing any significant repercussions.

These changes have already led to our first major victim, the world-famous Peppa Pig of which our prime minister had only so recently spoke of in the fondest of terms. A recent court ruling has linked infringement claims brought about by Entertainment One UK LTD for the abuse of rights relating to Peppa Pig to the recent sanctions and therefore refused the infringement claims.

Intellectual property rights being used as an economic and political tool is a concerning tactic. Imagine a world where your brand or product could simply be copied without any repercussions. The lack of commercial incentive and threat to creative entrepreneurship would surely have lasting effects on the commercial world that we have come to familiarize ourselves with today.

If you are affected by the changes to intellectual property legislation or have any query as to how to protect your intellectual property in the UK or abroad then get in touch with us at info@briffa.com for a free initial consultation.

Written by Mohammad Khan – Solicitor

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