The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that certain intellectual property (IP)-related transactions are now authorized in Russia, following publication by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of General License No. 31. The authorized transactions include the filing and prosecution of any application to obtain a patent, trademark, or copyright, as well as renewal and maintenance fees.
The USPTO announced in March that it would terminate engagement with the Russian IP Office (Rospatent) as well as the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) and the IP Office of Belarus, which has been cooperating with Russia. The Office also said that, effective March 11, it would no longer grant requests to participate in the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) at the USPTO when those requests are based on work performed by Rospatent as an Office of Earlier Examination. And, in pending cases where the Office granted special status under the GPPH to applications based on work performed by Rospatent, “the USPTO will remove that status and return those applications to the regular processing and examination queue, meaning that they will no longer be treated as GPPH applications at the USPTO,” said a USPTO statement at the time.
However, under General License No. 31, the following transactions that would otherwise be prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587 (RuHSR), are now authorized:
(1) The filing and prosecution of any application to obtain a patent, trademark, copyright, or other form of intellectual property protection;
(2) The receipt of a patent, trademark, copyright, or other form of intellectual property protection;
(3) The renewal or maintenance of a patent, trademark, copyright, or other form of intellectual property protection; and
(4) The filing and prosecution of any opposition or infringement proceeding with respect to a patent, trademark, copyright, or other form of intellectual property protection, or the entrance of a defense to any such proceeding.
The general license does not authorize opening or maintaining or making debits to any Russian financial institution subject to the provisions of Executive Order 14024, titled “Blocking Property With Respect To Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation,” or import into the United States of products prohibited by Executive Orders 14066 or 14068.
The announcement should provide some clarity for IP owners, as previously it was unclear what exceptions to the sanctions would be permitted.
Image Source: Deposit Photos
Image ID: 24368689