Russian countermeasures affect intellectual property in the tech sector

As a countermeasure to Western tech sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, the Russian Government has adopted a decree which allows local companies and individuals to use inventions, utility models and industrial designs held by owners from ‘unfriendly countries’ without their consent and without paying compensation. Among others, the list of unfriendly countries includes the United States, Canada, the EU states, the UK, Ukraine, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan. The decree relies on the provisions in the Russian Civil Code, which authorises the government to waive patent owner’s consent in case of extreme necessity associated with supporting the defense and safety of the state, the protection of citizens’ life and health. Analysts point out that the decision could be interpreted as a countermove against Western tech companies, such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, which are among the firms that announced a revamp of their business plans in Russia amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The Russian government is also considering the introduction of a compulsory licensing mechanism for computer programs and databases, according to a proposal called the “Priority Action Plan for Ensuring the Development of the Russian Economy in the Conditions of External Sanctions Pressure” (translation to English) put forth by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development. The proposal lays out numerous policies that attempt to help stabilize the Russian economy.