Temporary protection of industrial designs is being introduced in Russia

On December 27 a Federal law was signed on amending the Russian Civil Code. The amendments provide industrial designs with a mechanism of temporary protection. On December 28 the law was officially published. The amendments will come in force upon the expiry of a 180 day period after the publication.

The legislative initiative was explained by the need for an improved mechanism of protection of fashion designs, specifically, a mechanism that would account for the fast pace of fashion industry. At the moment fashion designs can be protected under copyright or patent law. Both options have drawbacks. Even though copyright law has a great advantage as it protects the work from the moment of its creation, it is believed to be somewhat inefficient when it comes to fashion. It has quite cumbersome enforcement procedure and does not protect designs from partial copying. Protection under patent law – specifically provided by industrial design patents – is more effective. However, it is delayed to the grant date of the patent. The process of obtaining an industrial design patent in Russia may take up to 20 months and 2 weeks. This is a reference timeframe mentioned in the Administrative Regulations. The law drafters insisted that, given the high competitiveness and dynamic nature of fashion industry, 20 months, which the applicant might spend waiting for the patent grant, may be crucial (it should be noted though, that in practice this timeframe is shorter: in accordance with Rospatent annual report, in 2017 the substantive examination – the longest phase of the process – of industrial design applications averaged to 6.05 months).

To better secure the exclusive rights of designers, the new law provides industrial designs with temporary protection during the processing time of application. In particular, protection covers the period from the date of publication of information on application (after it has successfully passed formal examination) and up to the date of publication of information on the grant of a patent. The information on application is published upon a corresponding request from the applicant. The scope of temporary protection covers essential features indicated in the drawings of application, limited, however, to those features, which the patent is granted for.

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