As of 27 July 2020, geographical indications on products will be protected in Russia. It will be possible to register them with the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent). These changes are the result of the entry into force of recent amendments to the Russian Civil Code.
A geographical indication is a sign used on a product that refers to its specific geographical origin and the particular qualities and reputation it possesses due to this geographical origin.
Geographically related designations are already protected in Russia as appellations of origin of goods. This regime will continue to exist, but geographical indication rights will be easier and faster to obtain than appellations-of-origin rights, especially for foreign producers, for the following reasons:
The key difference between a geographical indication and an appellation of origin is: to register a geographical indication, it is sufficient for the applicant to prove that at least one important stage of the product manufacturing process (i.e. a stage that has a significant impact on the product’s particular qualities) takes place at a certain geographical location while, for an appellation of origin, all stages must be carried out in the relevant geographical territory.
When applying for the registration of an appellation of origin, the applicant must submit the report of a competent authority or organisation confirming compliance with product-manufacturing requirements. No such requirement exists for registration of a geographical indication, which should simplify the registration process.
Foreign producers may register their geographical indications in Russia if an indication is duly registered in the country of the product’s origin either as a geographical indication or a geographically related designation. In this case, the producers will have to file a relevant registration certificate and accompanying documents with Rospatent.
Protection of a geographical indication will be granted for ten years from the filing date. This period can be extended for an unlimited number of ten-year periods provided that, upon renewal, the right holder submits a document confirming that it still manufactures the product for a Russian geographical indication or, for a foreign geographical indication, that it is still protected outside of Russia.
Both domestic and foreign producers are expected to favour the newly introduced regime of geographical indications and many will likely apply for registration with Rospatent, which will provide them with an additional tool for preventing the sale of products that mislead consumers about place of origin.
By Anton Bankovskiy, Partner, Irina Shurmina, Senior Associate, and Ksenia Danshina, Associate, CMS