New Russian IP Court Marks a Step Toward Strengthening Protection of Trade Secrets and Other IP Rights in Russia

Russia’s new Intellectual Property Court is now open for business, with 16 judges hearing trade secret, patent, trademark and other IP disputes.

The IP Court was officially established in 2011, and it started operation in Moscow on July 3, 2013.

The jurisdiction of the IP Court is limited: it handles cases involving disputes over the establishment and validity of IP rights as a court of first instance, and IP infringement cases as an appellate or cassation court.  Civil cases on copyright protection, as well as criminal and administrative cases, are outside its jurisdiction. However, IP experts believe that it is only a matter of time before the court’s jurisdiction is expanded to include more types of IP disputes.

Because resolution of IP disputes often requires a detailed knowledge of intellectual property law and an extensive technical background, the special court is staffed by technical specialists and judges who specialize in various areas of IP law.

Russia is becoming an important market for foreign investors, and IP protection is frequently a matter of concern for such investors. The new court is meant to provide a uniform approach to IP court practice, thus contributing to the stabilization and development of the IP legal environment in Russia.  Some 350 disputes were filed in its first three months, but it is too early to draw any conclusions about its operation; there were no notable trade secrets decisions.

For an overview of trade secret law in Russia, check out our recent primer.