Trademark Registration in Russia
Russia is one of the leading countries in the world in demand for the registration of new trademarks – the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent) received 87.5 thousand applications for registration of trademarks in 2019. By comparison, it is 8 thousand more than German Office received.
Trademarks in Russia are popular by foreign business: a third of the total number of applications are submitted by non-residents of Russia.
The most active among foreigners are representatives of China and the USA, and Europeans on the basis of EU TM registrations.
However, almost 20% of applications for a trademark in Russia are refused – for reasons of non-compliance with the application process, or because of previously filed applications or protected similar trademarks.
What can be protected?
Rospatent accepts applications for verbal, figurative, combined, three-dimensional, and other trademarks, both in black and white and in color.
So-called ‘exotic trademarks’ (olfactory, sound, motion, position, etc.), color combinations can also be registered with Rospatent.
The main requirement is that the sign must have distinctness.
Important, that only a business can own a trademark in Russia: a legal entity or an individual entrepreneur. Collective trademarks are also available when several persons act simultaneously as the owners of a trademark.
Russian legislation emphasizes ‘trademarks’ and ‘service marks’. The same rules apply to them, but the first one is understood as TM for goods, and the second one for services.
What cannot be protected?
Rospatent will refuse to register TM if the mark contains generally accepted signs and terms, contains a characteristic of the product, or misleads consumers, or contradict public order and principals of humanity and morality.
State symbols, state names, symbols and names of international organizations, official warranty, control, and assay seals, official awards may be included as non-protective to the sign upon the approval of the authorized body and/or lawful holder.
Also, a trademark cannot imitate protected appellations of origin of goods (geographical indications).
Documents and data required for TM application:
1. Applicant’s information:
a) Name, surname and the address for an individual;
b) Legal name and legal address for a legal entity.
2. Power of Attorney (signed and sealed) if the applicant is a non-resident of Russia
3. List of classes for goods and/or services for the trademark
4. Image of the sign its description
Prior to filing an application, it is recommended to conduct searches of previously registered or submitted for registration marks. Today in Russia there are more than 450 thousand active trademarks.
Trademark search Russia
The following are the stages of formal examination and substantive examination.
The formal examination of the application is conducted within 1 month from the moment of payment of the official fee and after the positive decision of the Office, the substantive examination is conducted within 7-8 months.
Rospatent plans in the near future to reduce this period to 6 months.
Upon the positive decision of the Office, state fees for registration of TM are paid and the certificate is issued.
Only Russian trademark attorneys/patent attorneys are entitled to represent foreign applicants before Rospatent.
Oppositions in the Russian Federation
There are no provisions in the Russian Laws regarding formal opposition against pending applications.
However, after the publication of the application, but prior to deciding on trademark registration, any person is entitled to file written observations specifying the reasons for rejection of the registration, that can be considered during the examination of the applications.
If within three years after the date of the registration a trademark is not used for the declared goods/services, the TM registration may be appealed by third parties.
Term of protection of the registered TM
10 years, which can be renewed by means by paying official fee and submission of the proper request.
The application fee is paid with the application or within 2 months from the proper notice from the Office. The substantive examination fee is paid together with the application fee. The registration fee is paid within 4 months from the date of the decision of the Office.