Researching Intellectual Property Law In The Russian Federation

By Julian Zegelman, Published on February 14, 2009
This 2005 guide was completely updated revised and published on February 15, 2009

Julian Zegelman is a graduate of University of California at San Diego and University of Minnesota Law School, where he served as the 2003-2004 Minnesota Intellectual Property Review staff member. Julian is a corporate and intellectual property attorney with Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel, a full service business law firm located in San Jose, California. Julian’s research interests include intellectual property, corporate and Internet law, and he is fluent in Russian, Hebrew and English. He thanks Prof. Mary Rumsey, a professor of legal research instruction at the University of Minnesota law school, and Derek Chien, a law clerk at Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel, for their valuable assistance during the preparation of this guide.

Table of Contents


Scope of this Guide

Language Limitations

Intended Audience

Overview of political and legal system of the Russian Federation

Political System

Legal System

Overview of Intellectual Property Law in the Russian Federation

Historical Perspective

Legal Framework

General Research Strategy


Finding books

Finding bibliographies and research guides

Finding periodicals and articles

Electronic sources

Primary sources of intellectual property law in the Russian Federation

Patent law

Trademark Law

Protection of Computer Programs

Protection of the Topologies of Integrated Circuits

Copyright Laws





Intellectual property law often serves as the legal backbone supporting technological innovation and artistic creativity. It is an integral part of modern economy, where more and more businesses each day rely on intangible sources of wealth such as patent rights, trademarks and copyrights. The prevalence of various types of intellectual property in today’s society is such that attorneys engaged in a wide variety of practice areas and not just patent or trademark attorneys per se, often need to research intellectual property law.

With the advent of globalization attorneys increasingly confront the necessity to research intellectual property law in jurisdictions other than the United States. This task can be complex and intimidating at times, depending on the amount of information available and the extent to which the foreign law differs from American law.

The purpose of this guide is to assist attorneys and other legal professionals in the research of contemporary intellectual property law in the Russian Federation.

The capital of the Russian Federation is the city of Moscow. The status of the capital is established by the federal law.

The state language of the Russian Federation throughout its territory is the Russian language. The republics have the right to institute their own state languages. They are used alongside the state language of the Russian Federation in bodies of state power, bodies of local self-government and state institutions of the republics.

Until December, 1991 the Russian Federation was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in which it was one of fifteen republics. Since 1991, Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy.

Scope of this Guide

This research guide is intended to assist its users with research of Russian intellectual property law by a) describing the primary sources of intellectual property law in the Russian Federation; and b) listing a number of secondary sources that interpret and comment on intellectual property law in the Russian Federation.

While every effort was made to include as many reputable and helpful sources as possible under the circumstances, this guide obviously cannot provide an answer to every single kind of question dealing with aspects of intellectual property law in Russia. Post-Soviet Russian intellectual property law has only been around for about fourteen years, and the amount of scholarly coverage in English is limited.

Similarly, this research guide does not pretend to be an exhaustive summary of all materials available on the topic. Instead it gives the reader a general overview of Russian intellectual property law and select secondary materials that can be used to research specific intellectual property subjects in more depth.

Language Limitations

Russian is the official language of the Russian Federation. While there are some official English translations of major intellectual property statutes promulgated by the Russian Patent Office (Rospatent), a lot of administrative regulations relating to intellectual property and case law are either translated by nongovernmental commercial entities or not translated at all. A non-native speaker practitioner relying on these unofficial translations should keep in mind that they may not necessarily represent the spirit of the original Russian text in the most accurate way. The origin of translated materials is provided in this guide when available to allow the user to gauge for herself what deference should be awarded to the translated version.

Another impact of language limitation is the relative scarcity of secondary scholarly materials, such as treatises and periodicals, available in English.


Intended Audience

This research guide is designed for use by attorneys and other legal professionals. It is assumed that the user has basic legal research skills, knows how to use Internet search engines, and is familiar with the basic intellectual property law terminology.

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Overview of the political and legal system of the Russian Federation

Political System

Russian Federation is the legal successor of the Soviet Union, which ceased its geopolitical existence by January of 1992. Russian Federation is a federal rule-of-law state with the republican form of government and at least a de jure commitment to the principles of democracy. The names Russian Federation and Russia are legally equivalent and often are used interchangeably.

According to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, section one, chapter 1, article 5, the Russian Federation consists of republics, territories, regions, federal cities, an autonomous region and autonomous areas, which are all equal subjects of the Russian Federation. The republic members of the Russian Federation enjoy the greatest degree of political and economic independence, with their own constitution, as well as legislative, judiciary and executive branches. Smaller subjects of the Russian Federation, such as territories, regions, federal cities, autonomous regions and autonomous areas, have a lesser degree of independence in the form of their own charter and legislation but not a separate constitution.

In Russian federal structure, the Constitution of the Russian Federation and federal laws preempt local laws when the two are in conflict. Government of the Russian Federation consists of separate and independent legislative, judicial, and executive branches. Executive branch consists of the President (Chief of State), Chairman of the Government (Head of Government), Deputy Chairmen and the Ministers (together making up the Cabinet). There is also a Presidential Administration that provides staff and policy to the president, and a Security Council, which coordinates matters of national security and reports directly to the president.

The Russian judiciary branch consists of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Arbitration, and Prosecutor General’s Office. Judges for all courts are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president.

Legal System

Russian legal system is based on civil law with judicial review of legislative acts. This means that the Russian system is not based on judge-made law, and judicial decisions do not serve as sources of law the way they do in the United States and other common law countries.

The Russian judiciary is split into three parts: the regular court system with the Supreme Court at the top, the arbitration court system with the Supreme Court of Arbitration at the top, and the Constitutional Court, a single-standing body with no courts under it. Each of the three parts of the Russian judiciary has its own defined subject matter jurisdiction and responsibility.

The Constitutional Court is vested with the responsibility of constitutional review; it is the only judicial body in Russia that has the authority to nullify a statute by declaring it unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court of Russia does not perform judicial review, meaning that it cannot nullify a statute; however it does have the right to interpret legislation. The Supreme Court also issues guidance for the lower courts of general jurisdiction on specific matters of law and procedure. Such guidance decisions have a binding effect upon all lower courts as well as upon administrative agencies and state officials dealing with the specific legal matters decided by the Supreme Court.

Disputes between business entities are handled by the arbitration courts, with the Supreme Court of Arbitration acting as the highest appellate authority. However, if a dispute involves a business entity and at least one private citizen not involved in business activities giving rise to the dispute, for example if a purchaser of a broken TV wants to sue the vendor company, then such disputes are handled by courts of general jurisdiction.

The following sources may provide further background information on Russian political and legal system:

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Overview of Intellectual Property Law in the Russian Federation

Historical Perspective

The new Constitution of the Russian Federation became the most democratic and perfect Constitution in history of Russia. The previous Constitutions were very influenced by the French constitutional model with strong President in political system and detailed description of rights and freedoms according standards of Universal Declaration of Human's Rights of 1948.

Throughout the years, developments in Russian intellectual property law have mirrored the country’s political evolution. Legal protection of intellectual property in Russia has its origin in the “Manifesto on privileges for inventions and discoveries in the arts and sciences” of June 17, 1812. This manifesto, signed by Emperor Alexander I, is generally considered to be the earliest Russian law protecting intellectual property rights.

For the next hundred years, following the issuance of the seminal Manifesto of June 17, 1812, Russian intellectual property law was developing along the same lines as intellectual property laws of other European countries. The “Regulations on privileges for inventions and improvements” enacted May 20, 1896, already contained most of the elements of a modern patent system, such as the enablement, novelty and utility requirements, and a fifteen-year exclusive patent term.

Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Russian political and economic systems changed drastically almost overnight. The capitalist monarchy was gone, replaced by a Soviet Socialist Republic, with its regulated planned economy, subsidized production and complete lack of private enterprise and private ownership of property. All but the most basic types of property now belonged to “the people,” a communist euphemism for the State.

Surprisingly, such drastic changes did not affect Russian intellectual property law right away. At first, yesterday’s revolutionaries turned today’s statesmen were too busy with matters far more important than bringing old-regime intellectual property system in sync with new ideology. Then, during the period of New Economic Policy (NEP), a short yet memorable revival of free enterprise and market economy lasting from approximately 1921 to 1928, the pre-revolution system of protection of intellectual property actually fit well within the neo-capitalist economy of the Soviet state.

It was not until the demise of the New Economic Policy that the “Regulations on inventions and technological improvements” were enacted in 1931, effectively replacing the older pre-revolutionary set of laws.

The 1931 regulations abolished the private ownership of intellectual property rights. Instead of being able to independently exploit her invention in a commercial way, the inventor now received a nominal remuneration in exchange for permanently assigning her invention and the accompanying intellectual property rights to the state.

This system of intellectual property protection, where all rights were owned by the state rather than the individual inventor, lasted until the late nineteen eighties when the necessity of reform became apparent. With Perestroika (a broad program of social, economic and ideological reform initiated by then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid nineteen-eighties) allowing certain types of private enterprise to exist outside the strict confines of market economy, the old body of intellectual property law proved to be hopelessly outdated.

Attempts to reform the Soviet intellectual property law culminated in 1991 with the circulation of draft legislation designed to overhaul the older system of protecting intellectual property rights. The proposed legislation had many elements borrowed from Western intellectual property laws, designed to function in a marketplace economy. Most notably, the draft legislation replaced “inventor’s certificates” with patents, gave inventors an exclusive right to practice her invention for a set period of time, and abolished the older practice of automatically requiring the inventors to assign their inventions to the government.

Collapse of the Soviet Union in December of 1991 put a halt to the ambitious task of reforming Soviet intellectual property law. For the next year or so, the state of intellectual property protection was in complete disarray. The old Soviet body of law no longer applied, the proposed reformed legislation was never quite officially enacted, and it was unclear what to do with the certificates of invention issued during the Soviet era under the Soviet law. Moreover, adding to the confusion was the lack of coordination in the intellectual property sphere between the newly independent republics, yesterday’s subjects of the Soviet Union.

In Russia the matters were clarified in 1992 with the passage of a series of laws regulating intellectual property matters. These laws constitute the primary source of intellectual property law in the Russian Federation, and despite a number of amendments throughout the years, are still in effect today. For more information on the transition from a Soviet system of intellectual property law to the one currently employed in the Russian Federation please see the following sources:

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Legal Framework

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General Research Strategy


When researching a particular issue in Russian intellectual property law, a two-tiered approach is recommended. First, the researcher should formulate in a sufficiently narrow way what is it she is looking for and consult an appropriate secondary source to get an overview of the topic. Accordingly, if one wants to find out the requirements for registering a trademark in Russia, a good starting point would be a treatise or a textbook that covers Russian trademark law. Then, the researcher can go directly to the primary sources on the topic, such as statutes, court decisions, and administrative regulations on the topic. Most likely, all or at least most of these primary authorities are going to be referenced in the secondary source. Attempting to research the topic the other way, first going to primary sources and then seeking clarification from secondary sources, is not only more time consuming but also presents a greater possibility of obtaining incomplete or flawed results. For example, if one decides to consult the text of the Russian trademark statute right away, she may miss a score of other primary sources that obviously are not going to be mentioned in the statute. Of course, if all a researcher wants to do is read a particular paragraph of the statute, or check a case law citation, then consulting a secondary source first may be unnecessary.

Whether using electronic or hardcopy search resources, it is helpful to formulate possible search terms and evaluate their potential scope prior to conducting the search. Linguistic and terminological variations should be taken into account when attempting to come up with the search terms sufficiently covering the desired subject area. For example, in the United States the term “intellectual property” is widely used to denote various property rights arising in connection to the products of creative authorship. Practitioners in the Russian Federation are at times more likely to use the slightly more outdated term “industrial property” or “commercial property” when referring to the same concept. A user is therefore advised to use synonymous search terms when possible. For example, the term “intellectual property” may never appear in an English language translation of an article written by a Russian scholar and published in a Russian periodical since the practitioner uses the term “industrial’ naya sobstvenost’ “, which is properly translated into English as “industrial,” and not “intellectual”, property. A user who is thorough enough to cross check a search for “intellectual property” with a search for “industrial property” would be able to find the article, while a more U.S. terminology-centric user would not.

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Finding Books

A researcher’s task is made much harder by the fact that modern Russian intellectual property law has been around for a lot less than the rule against perpetuities. While there are thousands of property law treatises covering the latter, the past decade saw only a handful of texts dealing with the topic of intellectual property law in the Russian Federation. The scarcity of textbook coverage is caused both by the relative novelty of the subject and by its continuous evolution. Due to the constant amendment of the intellectual property legislation in Russia, it is not uncommon for books to become outdated or inaccurate within only a few years after being first published. Thus a user picking up a 1995 edition of a book dealing with Russian patent law has to keep in mind that the book very well may provide inaccurate information, since it obviously could not take into account all of the amendments and changes introduced into Russian patent statute after 1995.

The advantage of looseleaf publications is that they are periodically updated and kept current on the changing legal realities of the time. Similarly, law review articles and other medium to short length scholarly publications tend to be more in sync with recent developments and trends in Russian intellectual property law than are some law books. While books may not be the sole resource for researching this ever-morphing topic, they certainly can be helpful, especially when one uses them in conjunction with other sources.

When searching for books on the topic, one is best served by electronic databases, most of which are now found on-line. For example, my alma mater, University of Minnesota, offers MNCAT website not found, try linking http://www.lib.umn.edu/site/catalogs.phtml,a comprehensive, university-wide database that lists holdings for all the libraries within the University of Minnesota system. A person looking for a particular book, or searching for any number of books dealing with a specific topic, can use the search tools built into MNCAT to see what materials are available and where they are located. The majority of institutes of higher learning, both large and small, now offer similar databases cataloguing their collections.

Another useful resource is the WorldCat on-line catalogue, a database allowing its user to simultaneously search through the holdings of approximately 17,000 American libraries. The limitation of WorldCat is that it does not replace the local catalogues of the institutions listed. A search on WorldCat will show the user which libraries have the materials sought; however, it will not give the user the call numbers associated with the materials. Thus a user will still have to turn to the particular catalogue in question to obtain the call number.

The RLG Union Catalogue (RLIN) is a search resource that is very similar to WorldCat. It gives the user an opportunity to locate relevant books and periodicals in the holdings of major American research libraries.

As a side note, both RLIN and WorldCat are subscription-based services. Practitioners not affiliated with a research library likely to subscribe to either or both services may be better served by using alternative catalogue resources.

The following are some sample search terms used to locate materials related to intellectual property law in the Russian Federation:

(“Russian Federation” OR “Russia”) AND (“intellectual property”, “industrial property,” or “commercial property”) – broad search likely to turn up materials dealing with diverse areas of intellectual property law.

(“Russian Federation” OR “Russia”) AND (“trademarks,” “appellations of origin,” “industrial designs”) – more narrow search focused on specific areas of intellectual property law.

Sources dealing with similar subject matter can be found under the same Library of Congress subject headings. Some of the suggested Library of Congress subject headings related to intellectual property law in the Russian Federation are:

Intellectual property – Russia (Federation)
Industrial property – Russia (Federation)
Copyright – Russia (Federation)
Patent laws and legislation – Russia (Federation)
Trademarks – Law and legislation – Russia (Federation)

The following are some books discussing various aspects of Russian intellectual property law:

Michiel Elst. Copyright, Freedom of Speech, and Cultural Policy in the Russian Federation. Boston, MS: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005.
This book provides a nice brief overview of the current state of copyright law in the Russian Federation. However, due to the fact that its main emphasis is on freedom of speech and media policy issues in Russia, it does not go into much depth as far as the copyright law goes.

Monroe Price, Andrei Richter and Peter K. Yu, editors. Russian Media Law and Policy in the Yeltsin Decade: Essays and Documents. New York, NY: Kluwer Law International, 2002.
The book contains articles, decisions and legislative material dealing with media law. Once again, this is not a purely intellectual property resource, but it does contain some useful information regarding copyright law in the Russian Federation.

Thomas H. Reynolds and Arturo A. Flores. Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World. Buffalo, NY: W.S. Hein & Co., 1989-. Current
This is a multi-volume set that is annually updated. Generally it is very useful for research in some jurisdictions and not so useful for others. There is a limited amount of material for Russian Federation in general, and even more limited amount of material on Russian intellectual property law. The book is organized geographically by country sections and subject headings. Under the subject headings one should look for the following keywords: “trademark,” “copyright,” “patent,” “licensing,” and “industrial property”.

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Finding Bibliographies and Research Guides

Bibliographies often can be a useful first step on the way to finding necessary secondary and primary sources on the area of law that is of interest to the user. One should look for bibliographies in the same way she would look for books on the same topic, by using specified search keywords while searching electronic library databases.

Library of Congress catalogues bibliographies in the same way it does other publications, by specific subject headings. Some of the suggested subject headings that may be used to locate bibliographies discussing Russian intellectual property law are the following:

Intellectual property – Russia (Federation)
Industrial property – Russia (Federation)Copyright – Russia (Federation)Patent laws and legislation – Russia (Federation)
Trademarks – Law and legislation – Russia (Federation)

There are also research guides facilitating general research on Russian law, however, they are not geared specifically to intellectual property law research. The best approach is to find materials that cover Russian law in general, and then turn to the part covering Russian intellectual property law in particular.

Below are several research guides that deal with Russian law and also cover to varying extent Russian intellectual property law:

Lucy Cox. Material on Russian Federation Law in English: Selection of Sources. Published June 15, 2001, last accessed February 8, 2009.
A very thorough and extensive bibliography of various materials on Russian Federation law in English. This bibliography contains books, periodicals, legal dictionaries, and online sources. A special, albeit brief, section is dedicated to researching Russian intellectual property law.

Marina Koniukhova. A Guide to Russian Legal Research. Published September 17, 2001; Revised and Updated June 30, 2003, last accessed June 30, 2008.
A good guide on Russian legal research. This guide is more concerned with laying out various methodologies for conducting effective research than with recommending particular secondary sources. This guide has a lot of electronic links to other electronic resources which allows the user to retrieve relevant information without first obtaining a hard copy source.

Stefanie Weigmann. Researching Intellectual Property Law in an International Context. Published March 1, 2000, last accessed June 30, 2008.
This guide does not deal with Russian intellectual property law per se; however, it does provide a lot of good methodological advice regarding foreign intellectual property law research. One benefit of this guide is a very thorough discussion of international intellectual property framework and the various treaties, organizations, and registration mechanisms that are part of it. For example, the guide gives a nice discussion of the TRIPPS agreement, the Madrid Protocol, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Finding Periodicals and Articles

The best way to find periodicals is through one of a number of specialized search databases. For example, periodicals may be found on either Westlaw or Lexis by searching the contents of the “periodicals” databases. They can also be found through on-line library databases, such as MNCAT, WorldCat, or RLIN. One would search these databases for periodicals by using keywords or Library of Congress subject headings such as:

Russia (Federation) – periodicals
Intellectual Property – periodicals
Intellectual Property – Russia (Federation) – periodicals
Patent laws and legislation – Russia (Federation) – periodicals
Copyright – Russia (Federation) – Periodicals
Technology – Periodicals

The good thing about periodicals is that by nature of being published more often than books, they are often more current on the law than books. A user may turn to a book first to get the general overview of a subject, and then search for the latest developments in the area by consulting a relevant periodical. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of periodicals dedicated solely to Russian intellectual property law are in Russian, and do not appear in English translation. This situation may change as demand for English translations of such periodicals increases.

To find articles dealing with Russian intellectual property law in English language periodicals one may use a periodical database such as Legal Trac:

Legal Trac (on InfoTrac). Gale Group (Thomson Corp. Company). 1980-
Legal Trac is an on-line search database that can be used to search for articles on particular topic. Legal Trac is not free, it is a subscription-only service, thus a user should find out whether or not this resource is available to her through her academic library or employment. This particular database contains nearly a million articles and is updated on a daily basis. It is possible to search Legal Trac by subject guide, relevance, specific keyword, or any combination thereof. Please note that unlike Lexis and Westlaw, which contain full text articles, Legal Trac only gives you the name of the periodicals where an article of interest may be found, it does not contain the actual texts of the articles. Those with access to other subscription fee based services such as LexisNexis and Westlaw may also search these databases to find articles of interest. Keywords such as “intellectual property,” “industrial property,” “technology law,” “copyright,” and “patent,” may be used in conjunction with keywords such as “Russia” and “Russian Federation”.

There are a number of searchable periodical databases where articles can be located. To find articles dealing with various aspects of Russian intellectual property law, one may use the following searches:


Here are some of sample periodical indexes which may contain articles on Russian intellectual property law:

Some of sample periodical databases which may prove useful are:

Probably the best and most economically sound advice is not to conduct a Lexis or Westlaw search prior to consulting with either a librarian, if you are fortunate to have one working with your organization, or with a Lexis or Westlaw representative. Help is available live both on-line and over the phone, and the representatives are more than happy to assist you to structure a search in the most effective and efficient way. It is better to take five minutes to explain to the representative what you are looking for and obtain their assistance than to spend a few hours (and few hundred dollars if you are no longer a free-riding law student) in a feeble attempt to locate the information yourself.

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Electronic Sources

More traditional, and I am not trying to say old fashioned, practitioners are often surprised to learn how much relevant and reliable information is available free on the Web. The truth is that if you are looking for an answer to a specific research issue or question, there is a reasonable chance that a few people out there not only have answered it, but in addition have already posted relevant information online as well (via a website, blog, or a listserv).

One thing to look out for is outdated and faulty information. Both types are abundant online, and just as it is not advisable to take anything in printed form for granted because it is in print, it is equally ill advised to trust something just because it is posted on a website. The Update to Foreign and International Legal Databases on the Internet by Mirela Roznovschi, published October 2, 2000 (last accessed June 30, 2008) provides a nice discussion of how best to evaluate the credibility of a website and the information it posts.

A good general starting point of free online research is to create and run a query with specific keywords, using a search engine such as Google. After the search turns out scores of both relevant and irrelevant information, the user should either begin drilling down to review the levels returned by the search results, and as necessary, rephrase or narrow the search.
Some useful electronic sources for finding information relevant to Russian intellectual property law are:

Website of Rospatent (English version), last accessed on February 8, 2009.
Although the Russian language website has a lot more information and tools on it, the English version is helpful as well. There is information about the functions and the structure of Rospatent; English translations of intellectual property-related legislation; English translations of official publications of Rospatent; a comprehensive patent, utility model, and trademark search system; list of contacts within the Rospatent; and a list of links to other intellectual property resources. This website can be a valuable resource for someone who has no exposure to the Russian system of protection of intellectual property, since it covers the basics such as the mission of the Rospatent, the various types of intellectual property rights available in Russia, and the requirements for obtaining protection of one’s intellectual property assets. When the user initially arrives at the website, she encounters the Russian version which may confuse the non-native speaker user. However, the “English” tab located in the upper right hand corner will take the user to an English version of the website. The English version contains the following resources: news releases covering intellectual property developments both inside and outside of Russia, information about the structure of Rospatent and its mission, link to materials on industrial property (Russian and European term for types of intellectual property commonly protected by patents and trademarks), link to materials on copyright and related rights, a search engine and a link to open registers allowing access to several databases which are discussed below.

The open registers contain the following databases: i) the register of the Russian trademarks and service marks (free access to information on the status of Russian trademarks and service marks), ii) the register of abstracts of the Russian inventions in English (free access to abstracts of Russian inventions, together with the current legal status of their registration), iii) the register of the Russian good places of origin (free access to registry of Russian functioning appellations of origin), iv) the list of the well- known trademarks of Russia (free access to registry containing a list of Russian trademarks that are considered well-known, a term in Russian trademark law that signifies that a trademark achieved a status commonly referred to as “secondary meaning” in American trademark law), v) the register of the Russian utility models (free access to registry of Russian registered utility models and their current legal status), and vi) the register of Russian industrial designs (free access containing documentation on Russian registered industrial designs and their current legal status).

The English language version of the website seems to be comparable in functionality and content to the Russian version.

Gorodissky and Partners, an intellectual property law firm, last accessed February 8, 2009.

This a website of Gorodissky and Partners, one of the oldest and most respected Russian intellectual property law firms. The website has an English version, which is easy to navigate, contains a search engine, and is updated regularly. The website offers a number of articles in English written by the firm’s attorneys on various topics dealing with Russian intellectual property law. The database of articles is growing steadily and seems to be updated on a regular basis.

http://www.russianlaws.com/, last accessed on February 8, 2009.
This website is maintained by the Moscow office of Dewey & LeBouef LLP. It offers analysis of major changes in Russian legislation affecting business and investment activities. The site is easy to navigate, has a working search engine, and is updated on a regular basis. Several of the overviews are dedicated to intellectual property matters.

INTELCOM, last accessed on February 8, 2009.

The Website of the Organization for Intellectual Property and Technology Commercialization (INTELCOM) focuses on issues dealing with legal protection and commercial use of intellectual property in Russia. It includes a database of relevant Russian legislation in English (free registration is required to access full texts), news, glossary of specialized terms and analytical reports.

Moscow Media Law and Policy Institute, last accessed on February 8, 2009.
The website offers translations of Russian laws dealing with media, telecommunications and advertisements. The website is rudimentary, does not have a search engine, and appears outdated. Its only benefit is the presence of a few Russian statutes on media and advertising that are translated into English.

Sojuzpatent, last accessed on February 8, 2009.

This is a website of “Sojuzpatent,” the oldest and one of the most known Russian intellectual property law firms. The website is easy to navigate, regularly updated, and has a number of useful features such as a collection of articles on intellectual property law, news section discussing latest developments in Russian intellectual property law, and several pieces of Russian intellectual property legislation translated into English.

The Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights, last accessed on February 8, 2009.
CIPR is a private-public partnership dedicated solely to advancing intellectual property rights protection, enforcement and reform in the CIS countries and the Baltic states. Through research, education, legislative initiatives, coalition building and legal, judicial and regulatory reforms, CIPR assists governments and businesses in the region to establish transparent and non-discriminatory IPR regimes and to adhere to international IPR standards. Its website offers a number of useful features, such as summary of recent developments in intellectual property law both in Russia and in other ex-Soviet states, links to intellectual property legislation of Russia and other ex-Soviet states, and a calendar of events that may be of interest to scholars of Russian intellectual property law. The website appears to be updated on a regular basis.

Primary Sources of Intellectual Property Law in the Russian Federation

Patent Law

The main patent statute in the Russian Federation is Patent law of the Russian Federation of September 23, 1992, #3517-I (with changes and amendments introduced by the Federal Law of February 7, 2003, #22-FZ, in force as of 11/03/2003, except for paragraphs fourteen and fifteen of item 2, paragraph eight of item 23, item 30 of article 1 and item 1 of article 7 in respect to secret inventions that come into force as of January 1, 2004). Full English text of the statute is accessible at http://www.fips.ru/ruptoen2/law/patent_law.htm.

This statute governs relations arising in connection with legal protection and use of inventions, utility models and industrial designs. In the Russian Federation, patent matters are wholly within the federal executive authority, meaning that the federal patent law governs all subjects of the federation. Similarly, subjects of the federation do not have their own local patent offices but instead all patent and other intellectual property issues are handled centrally by Rospatent, the federal agency entrusted with regulating intellectual property matters. Russia is a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT); therefore foreign applicants may utilize the PCT mechanism to obtain patent rights in the Russian Federation.

Trademark Law

The main trademark statute in the Russian Federation is Law of the Russian Federation #3520-1 on trademarks, service marks and appellations of origin of goods of September 23, 1992 (with changes and amendments introduced by the Federal Law # 166-FL on December 11, 2002, and entering into force on December 27, 2002). Full English text of the statute is accessible at http://www.fips.ru/ruptoen2/law/tm.htm.

This statute governs relations arising in connection with legal protection and use of trademarks, service marks, and appellations of origin of goods. A trademark is protected in the Russian Federation on the basis of registration with the appropriate State agency (Rospatent at this time); this is contrary to American trademark law, where a mark not registered with the USPTO may still be entitled to protection under state trademark law or a common law doctrine.

Protection of Computer Programs and Databases

The statute dealing with protecting a special subset of intellectual property, namely computer programs and databases, is Law of the Russian Federation on the legal protection of computer programs and databases No. 3523-1 of September 23, 1992 (with changes and amendments introduced by the Federal Law No. 177-FL on December 24, 2002). Full English text of the statute is accessible at http://www.fips.ru/avpen/pr_db.htm.

This statute governs relations arising in connection with legal protection and use of computer programs and databases. The statute extends copyright protection to databases and certain types of computer programs.

Protection of the Topologies of Integrated Circuits

The statute extending protection to the layouts of integrated circuits is Law of the Russian Federation on the legal protection of the topologies of integrated circuits No. 3526-1 of September 23, 1992 (with changes and amendments introduced by the Federal Law No. 82-FL on July 9, 2002). Full English text of the statute is available at http://www.fips.ru/avpen/TIMS.htm.

This statute extends protection to designs of layout of electrical circuits on a chip that fit the statutory requirements. It closes the gap existing in the law previously, where no legal remedies were available to companies whose proprietary chip designs were stolen by competitors.

Copyright Law

The main copyright statute in the Russian Federation is Law of the Russian Federation on copyright and neighboring rights No. 5351-I of July 9, 1993 (with changes and amendments introduced by the Federal Law No. 72-3). Full English text of the statute is available at http://www.fips.ru/ruptoen2/law/low_cop.htm

This statute creates the framework of Russian copyright law. It discusses issues related to protection of scientific, literary and artistic works (copyright) and of phonograms, performances and the programs of broadcasting.


Russian intellectual property law is an exciting and rapidly changing discipline that may at times seem confusing and hard to research. This research guide, while by no means an exhaustive authority on the subject, lists most of the mainstream sources that are currently available on the topic. Of course, any research guide is only as good as the person using it, therefore it is suggested that the user of this guide does not stop at the information provided here, but perhaps she should use it as a starting point on the quest for even more English-language resources on Russian intellectual property law.

We are human, therefore we are imperfect. This maxim holds true with regard to many human occupations, including the composition of research guides. While every effort was made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, recent, and useful, the author apologizes ahead of time for any mistakes or omissions, which are undoubtedly present in this guide.