Russia is now permitting patents affiliated with “unfriendly” countries to be utilized by parties in the country without compensation. This new treatment of foreign owned patents comes from a new decree issued in Russia on March 7th – in response to Western sanctions against Russia arising from the Russia-Ukraine war.
Specifically, as experts have observed, the Russian government has legalized IP theft from IP holders in the United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and all 27 European Union (EU) member countries. There is also a possibility that foreign owned trademarks may soon be at risk, too – as Russia is unhappy with the exodus of foreign brand names following the sanctions.
This exploitation can have severe effects on western businesses and inventors because Russian businesses can now use their IP without consequence. And notably, the risk is seen as a long term one which will be felt long after global tensions recede.
Some experts see Russia utilizing foreign IP for not just commercial purposes but also as a political weapon to undermine the economies of western governments. Western companies and inventors, therefore, should plan to carefully protect their IP from any potential Russian infringement now as well beyond the de-escalation of global tensions.