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.
Can I use arguments for invalidity as a defense in an infringing action brought in Russia by the patent’s owner?
The defendant in a patent infringement case brought to a Russian court can challenge the patent validity. However, since the Russian patent system is bifurcated, the defendant cannot assert invalidity of the patent in question to the infringement court, but has to initiate a separate proceeding at the Chamber for Patent Disputes in the Russian Patent and Trademark Office. Accordingly, infringement and invalidity of the patent at issue will be examined in separate proceedings.
The court judgment on the infringement suit is appealable to a local court of appeals and the appeal decision comes into force immediately. The decision of the court of appeals can be challenged before the Court for intellectual property rights as a cassation instance.
The decision of the Chamber for Patent Disputes on the patent’s validity is appealable to the Court for intellectual property rights, and its decision can be challenged before the Presidium of the same Court as a cassation instance.
Therefore, a judgment by an infringement court may come earlier than that by the Chamber for Patent Disputes, and an injunction could be enforced by a patentee even if the patent is invalidated later on.
Is it true that the examination request should be filed with the Eurasian patent office on the date the application is filed?
This requirement (to file the request for substantive examination within the same time limit as the application) only applies to PCT Eurasian regional phase applications. For other types of applications, the examination request should be filed within 6 months of the date of publication of the patent application.
Do I have to prove the legal interest for filing a nullity action against a Russian patent?
According to Russian patent legislation, any person who became aware of violations of patent law can file an invalidation action to the Russian Patent office (or to the court in case the violation relates to the list of the inventors/applicants) during the term of validity of the patent. However, only a person having legal interest in invalidating the patent can file an invalidation request after the expiry of the patent.
For most disputes related to patent invalidation/trademark cancellation, the venue is determined directly by Russian law. It is either the Federal executive authority in the sphere of intellectual property (Rospatent, the Chamber for Patent Disputes) or the Court for Intellectual Property Rights. For the remaining invalidation/cancellation actions (a few rare types of cases) the venue is defined according to general rules depending on the defendant's address.
At the same time, in infringement lawsuits, forum shopping is possible when the claimant can name multiple persons as co-defendants (e.g. manufacturer/importer, wholesalers, and retailers). In such cases, the claimant has the option to choose with which territorial court to file their action.
How is it possible to speed up prosecution of patent applications in Russia?
One of the ways to accelerate patent prosecution in Russia is the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH). Currently, the Russian Patent and Trademark Office (RUPTO) has pilot PPH programs with the European Patent Office and the Patent Offices of Japan, US, Korea, Finland, Spain, Denmark, China and Portugal. According to the signed agreements, RUPTO’s patent examiners will take into consideration PCT and national/regional work products. Filing the PPH request, the client may count on receiving fewer office actions and consequently decreasing the term of prosecution.
Another way is the RUPTO’s paid service allowing the applicant to receive the search report within 10 working days. The search results allow decreasing to two months the term of issuing the first office action or the decision of grant. The official tariff charged for this service amounts to 94,400 RUR.
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