Russia Says Its Businesses Can Steal Patents From Anyone In ‘Unfriendly’ Countries
The patent decree and any further lifting of intellectual property protections could affect Western investment in Russia well beyond any de-escalation of the war in Ukraine, said Josh Gerben, an intellectual property lawyer in Washington. Firms that already saw risks in Russian business would have more reason to worry. “It’s just another example of how [Putin] has forever changed the relationship that Russia will have with the world,” Gerben said. Russia’s decree removes protections for patent holders who are registered in hostile countries, do business in them or hold their nationality.
The Kremlin has not issued any decree lifting protections on trademarks. But Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development said last week that authorities are considering “removing restrictions on the use of intellectual property contained in certain goods whose supply to Russia is restricted,” according to Russian state news outlet Tass, and that potential measures could affect inventions, computer programs and trademarks. The ministry said the measures would “mitigate the impact on the market of supply chain breaks, as well as shortages of goods and services that have arisen due to the new sanctions of western countries,” Tass stated. Gerben said a similar decree on trademarks would pave the way for Russian companies to exploit American brand names that have halted their business in Russia. He gave a hypothetical involving McDonald’s, one of the latest global giants to suspend operations in Russia under public pressure.
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