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Higher School of Economics

Russian Trademark Law in Global Perspective

Higher School of Economics via Coursera

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Learn about legal framework of trademark registration, protection and enforcement in Russia. You can also compare Russian approach with international standards enshrined in relevant treaties and discover problematic arears of trademark protection in the Russia.

This course is on legal regulation of trademark protection in Russia. It explains the process of acquiring trademark in Russia, alternatives to trademark protection (such as firm names, trade names, names of origins), requirements for trademark validity, conditions under which trademarks are protected in Russia, scope of excusive trademark rights protection, peculiarities of assignment and licensing practice in Russia. The course also focuses on issues of trademark infringement, criteria applied by the Russian courts and relevant practice of the Russian Intellectual Property Court. It describes different remedies available to the trademark holders, including calculation of statutory damages under the Russian law for trademark infringement.

Russian trademark legislation and case law do not have long historical roots. This is the reason why this area of the Russian law may be characterized as very dynamic. Examples will be given to illustrate successful legal solutions (for example, trademark protection in domain names, exhaustion of trademark rights) and ongoing search for proper and balanced regulation (for example, regulation of parallel imports, antitrust regulation in trademark law, application of fair use doctrine o trademarks).


Trademarks and Other Means of Individualization
-This lecture provides a general overview of different means of individualization (identifiers) under the Russian law, such as trade names, firm names, designations of places of origin and trademarks. Each of them has its own unique function, special regulation, conditions of protection, scope of protection, remedies available to their right holders, as well as advantages and disadvantages.

Acquiring trademark rights
-This lecture explains process of acquiring trademark. We will see what signs can be registered as trademarks, explain different legal grounds when registration of a trademark can be denied. We will also discuss in detail absolute and relative grounds for refusal to register trademarks, in particular concept of distinctiveness, acquiring trademarks rights through use, immoral trademarks, interrelation of trademarks and prior rights of third parties and others. Specific rules and procedures for acquiring protection of well-known and foreign trademarks will be described as well.

Trademark Infringement
-During this lecture we will discuss conditions under which actions of third parties using similar sign are regarded as infringement of trademark rights according to the Russian Civil Code. Russian courts developed their own approach to consider trademark infringement disputes called sometimes as "triangle rule". Case studies and examples explaining the logic of the Russian case-law will be provided. Besides, there are some instances when defendants may be allowed to use another’s trademark without permission and without payment of any royalties. The lecture covers such legal defenses as well.

Termination of Trademark Rights
-Trademark rights are not timeless or absolute; they may be terminated, revoked or invalidated if necessary legal grounds are present. What are these grounds? This lecture answers this question and provides for relevant illustrations when trademark rights may be removed from the Register of trademarks on voluntary or involuntary basis. Among them are expiration of trademark rights, waiver of rights, change of trademark owner’s legal status, opposition of third parties regarding breach of absolute or relative grounds for refusal to register trademarks, bad faith registration and unfair competition, non-use of trademarks and loss of distinctiveness.

Commercial Exploitation of Trademarks
-Trademark owner has many options to exploit its trademark. Among them are self-exploitation, assignment, license contracts, franchising, distributorships agreements and many others. Russian law contains several imperative requirements that parties to such transactions must comply with. They concern form of a contract, registration of transfer of rights, financial provisions and some others. Failure to take them into account may lead to invalidity of a contract or ineffectiveness of transfer of rights.

Enforcement of Trademark Rights
-Enforcement plays huge role in effective protection of trademark rights. Under Russian law trademark owners may resort to different remedies and procedures to protect their rights against violation, including civil, administrative and criminal ones. We will briefly describe Russian enforcement and court system and turn to discussion of specific provisions of Civil Code, Code of Administrative Offences, Customs Code of the Eurasian Union and Criminal Code that relate to enforcement of trademark rights.

Final assignment
-This module consists of final assignment, which will help to estimate your gained knowledge about Russian trademark law.
We hope you have enjoyed the course and will continue your development in sphere of trademark rights!

Taught by

Vladislav Starzhenetsky


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