Russia has effectively legalized patent theft from anyone affiliated with countries “unfriendly” to it.Russia says its businesses can steal patents from anyone in ‘unfriendly’ countries, Hannah Knowles
and Zina Pozen, Washington post,
The economic war between much of the western world and Russia has come home to European and North American intellectual property holders. Russia announced last week that there will be. no patent protection in Russia for companies headquartered in what Russia deems unfriendly countries.
Here is the list as stipulated by the Russian government on March 7, 2022:
The list includes the United States and Canada, the EU states, the UK (including Jersey, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar), Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland, Albania, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, North Macedonia, and also Japan, South Korea, Australia, Micronesia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan (considered a territory of China, but ruled by its own administration since 1949).Russian government approves list of unfriendly countries and territories, Tass Russian News Agency, March 7, 2022
Since then, a Russian court has ruled against eOne in a case involving Peppa Pig. The court threw out eOne’s claims. What is particularly of note is the court’s mention of “unfriendly actions of the United States of America and affiliated foreign countries” in its ruling.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was known for not engaging capitalist countries in trade and not honoring intellectual property rights. So, this is a return to the bad old days for Russia.
Russia represents a relatively small percentage of the global licensing market. (Its toy market is small as well, $1.29 Billion U.S., about 1/3 of France’s toy market). Though there will be some short-term pain for the Walt Disney’s and McDonald’s of the world (and the Hasbro’s too, they own eOne), the ultimate pain will be more significant for Russian businesses. Will “unfriendly” countries want to do business with companies in a country that does not follow international intellectual property law? I don’t think so.
It’s Putin’s war. Its average Russians who are taking it on the chin.