This means that, after 18 years ofánegotiations, Russia andáWTO members have atálong last reached agreements onáthe major economic andálegal issues that previously barred Russia fromáentry. Aásignificant portion ofáthose issues constituted intellectual property (IP) aspects. Furthermore, forámany WTO members, theágrowing influence ofáIP onáthe Russian economy made resolving these issues crucial before accession could occur.
TheáRussian government was forced toáreview obsolete IP legislation andáharmonize it with WTO regulations, resulting ináthe adoption ofáPart 4 ofáthe Russian Federation Civil Code, which successfully addressed most, but not all, controversial IP issues. This article points toásome areas where theáRussian government has already taken certain steps, but which still require improvement.
Court foráIntellectual Property Rights
One ofáthose areas is protection ofáIP inácourts. Russia's president noted that theáimperfection ofáthe court system will prove toábe anáobstacle toáRussia's WTO participation. Toáthis end, theáState Duma, during its last days before theáelections, amended theáfederal legislation toáintroduce aáspecialized court foráIP rights. Theácourt will be created byáFeb. 1, 2013, andáwill consider IP cases as theácourt ofáfirst andácassation instance. Theáquestion still remains as toáwhether theájudges will be suitably qualified andáwhether their number (30) will be enough toáaddress IP issues foráthe whole ofáRussia. Furthermore, it is not clear why disputes concerned with copyright andáneighboring rights as well as onáprotection ofáIP rights were left outside theácompetence ofáa specialized court ináthe first instance.
Protection ofáPharmaceutical Test Data
OnáNov. 19, 2006, Russia andáthe United States agreed onáthe Action foráCritical IPR Issues, anáintegral part ofáthe U.S.-Russian WTO bilateral market access agreement. Pursuant toáthis document, onáOct. 11, 2010, Russia amended Federal Law No. 61-FZ "On Circulation ofáMedicine Products," which, foráall medicine products, prohibited use ofádata onáresults ofáclinical trials forácommercial or state registration purposes without consent within six years fromáthe date ofáa medicine's state registration.
This means that producers ofágeneric drugs, which are very popular ináRussia, will have toáeither negotiate theáuse ofátest data with theáoriginal drug producers or conduct clinical trials independently, which is both time-consuming andácostly. Consequently, medicine prices will increase. Despite this, ináthe event ofáillegal use ofátest data, theáoriginal drug producer is unlikely even toábe granted theáright toáa specific claim forádamages or other civil law instruments since protection ofátest data, foráinstance as aátrade secret, is quite doubtful. Violation ofáthese provisions may result ináadministrative or criminal liability, as well as removal ofáthe offending drugs fromáthe market.
Equal patent fees á
Since 1993, Russia has always established different patent fees: one foráresidents andáanother (four times higher) foránonresidents. Although this was anáobvious violation ofáthe Paris Convention foráProtection ofáIndustrial Property, WIPO could not apply any sanctions against Russia. However, inálight ofáWTO accession, onáSept. 15, 2011, theáRussian government canceled theádiscriminating provisions andáprovided instead foráequal fees, effective fromáthe date ofáRussia's accession toáthe WTO. However, patent fees, while now equal foráeveryone, will increase onáaverage byá30 percent foráa significant portion ofágovernment patent services.