The Eurasian Patent System allows applicants to take advantage of a Eurasian regional patent that is valid not only in Russia, but also in the other seven member countries of the Eurasian Patent Convention (EAPC): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.
Patent applications are filed with the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO, located in Moscow) in a single language (Russian) and are processed by the EAPO until granted. The patent issued is immediately valid in all the member states. Although the Eurasian official fees are considerably higher than those charged by any national Patent Office, the processing of one Eurasian application is usually more cost-effective than separate prosecution of two or three national applications.
The Eurasian Patent System is traditionally popular among foreign applicants who represent a vast majority of the filers (despite the large discounts on official fees offered to applicants from member states). Accordingly, most Eurasian patent applications are regional stages of PCT applications, or else they claim priority from earlier foreign applications.
Initial (priority) applications are filed with the Eurasian Patent Office through the national Patent Offices in accordance with national first filing requirements. (Please refer to the First filing Requirement/Foreign Filing License section below.)
The way the Eurasian Patent Convention works is very similar to the European Patent Convention; it is even more convenient and applicant-friendly in some respects: for example, there is no special validation procedure and the Eurasian patent holder chooses the countries where the patent should be maintained by merely paying the respective annuities. All the annuities are paid directly to the Eurasian Patent Office.
Our Eurasian patent attorneys will help you to file your patent applications with the Eurasian Patent Office for any industry sector and will professionally guide you through each step of the examination.
First Filing Requirement (Foreign Filing License)
The term “foreign filing license” is not directly mentioned in Russian IP legislation. At the same time, Russian regulations contain provisions similar to those set forth in countries that oblige national applicants to receive special permission before filing patent applications abroad.
In case the invention has been developed in the Russian Federation, the applicant is required by Russian law to file their first application in Russia (direct national filing or international application filed with the RUPTO as the International receiving office).
Any subsequent application can only be filed abroad after a six-month check performed by the Russian Patent Office. The check is meant to reveal state secrets the invention may eventually contain. Rospatent does not issue any special permission to file foreign applications (as compared to the US foreign filing license, when PTO issues a corresponding notification). The lapse of the said six-month term automatically allows the applicant to file subsequent applications with foreign Patent offices. The term may be reduced by filing a request explaining that the application materials do not contain state secrets. Reduction of the term lies then within Rospatent’s discretion. It may normally be reduced to 3-4 months.
If, in breach of said rule, the applicant files the patent application with a foreign Patent office, Russian law stipulates administrative liability (monetary penalties). At the same time, if, after an unauthorized foreign filing, a state secret is revealed in the invention, both the applicant and the inventor become criminally liable.
We will be happy to provide more information and perform an analysis of a specific situation involving the first filing requirement.
This decision should be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the subject matter and goals of patenting, as well as taking into account the specifics provided in the table below.
|Object of protection||Product (in particular device, substance, strain of microorganism, cell culture of plants or animals) or method||Device|
|Patentability criteria||Novelty, inventive step, industrial applicability||Novelty, industrial applicability|
|Term of protection||20 years (with a possible extension up to 5 years for inventions relating to such products as a drug, pesticide or agrochemical product, if their use requires a statutory authorization and more than five years have lapsed from the filing date of the patent application to the date of obtaining the first authorization)||10 years|
|Approximate time to obtain a patent||24 – 36 months||6 - 12 months|
As one can see from the table, only a device can be protected as a utility model. At the same time, invention patents grant protection to devices, chemical substances, strains of microorganisms, cell cultures of plants or animals, as well as methods. For example, if there is a need to obtain patent protection for a chemical substance, one should file an application for the invention rather than for the utility model.
As far as a device is concerned, we should point out that one can obtain a utility model patent easier than an invention patent, since the utility model is not required to have the inventive step (unlike the invention). Thus, in order to get a utility model patent, one could take two previously known devices and merely combine them, also proving novelty and industrial applicability. An inventive step is not required in this case.
However, the extent of legal protection of an invention is somewhat broader than the one of a utility model because the assessment of infringement of IP rights includes equivalents doctrine.
When choosing between a utility model and an invention patent, one should also consider the risk of patent invalidation. Since inventions have to satisfy the additional patentability requirement of an inventive step (obviousness), possible invalidation actions can have additional grounds – lack of an inventive step. Therefore, in some cases, utility model patents can be considered as potentially more stable.
In both Russian and Eurasian Patent Offices, the processing of a PCT national (regional) stage application may start before the expiration of the 31-month time limit in case the applicant makes an express request to the Patent Office.
Currently: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan are members of the Eurasian Patent Convention. Moldova left the Convention on February 27, 2012, but the patents registered on the basis of applications filed before that date, are valid.
No annuities are due either in the Russian Patent and Trademark Office or in the Eurasian Patent Office while the patent application is pending.
According to Russian IP law, the first accumulative annuities should be paid together with the grant and registration fee, starting from the 3rd year for Russian invention patents and from the 1st year for Russian utility model patents. The due date is counted from the date of filing the application (international filing date for PCT national phase applications).
The year from which the annuities for a Eurasian patent should be calculated depends on the national rules of each respective country and varies for different countries (1st, 2nd, or 3rd year).
It goes without saying that an applicant can file amendments to the application in response to an office action. In addition, he or she has an opportunity to file voluntary amendments (irrespective of received office actions) once, at any time after receiving the search report.
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