As outlined in art. 1247 of the Russian Civil Code, any applicant may choose one of the options how to be represented before Rospatent:
- directly, or
- by a Russian patent attorney, or
- by another representative (e.g., attorney-at-law)
The list is significantly shortened for foreign applicants: under art. 1247 (2) of the Civil Code, foreign citizens and legal entities may be represented before Rospatent only by Russian patent attorneys, unless otherwise envisaged by an international treaty.
In a few recent decisions the Russian IP Court interpreted this rule broadly (e.g., Decision of the Presidium of the IPC on case IPC- 184/2014 dated 30.01.2015) as to legalize all three mentioned options for foreign applicants. By doing so, the IP Court relied on the principle of national regime as outlined in the Paris Convention and Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
On 28.02.2019, in order to clarify the mechanism of cooperation Rospatent issued the Notice on cooperation between applicants and foreign Patent Offices.
It says, that international treaties between Russia and the member-states of the EAEU (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan) as well as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine have enabled all applicants domiciled or located in these states to act directly before Patent Offices without additional formalities.
The rule applies to Russian applicants dealing with foreign Patent Offices of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine as well as foreigners dealing with Rospatent.
Even so, Rospatent may require that foreign applicants have to provide correspondence address on the Russian territory when acting directly before Rospatent (art. 1247 (2) of the Civil Code).
This clarification will definitely bring practice of the Patent Offices of the mentioned states in harmony and strengthen cooperation between them. Just as important, this practice will help to minimize budgets for IP prosecution on the international level.