United States Patent and Trademark Office Severs Ties with Russian Patent OfficeMarch 9, 2022
Last Friday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) terminated its cooperation with the Eurasian Patent Organization (which includes Russia and Belarus) and the Russian intellectual property office (commonly known as “Rospatent”). This move comes after the European Patent Office previously announced it was suspending its cooperation with Rospatent and the Eurasian Patent Organization on March 1, 2022.
In its statement, the USPTO indicated its actions are in response to the guidance of the U.S. Department of State. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the USPTO, announced that it would be imposing “stringent export controls” on Belarus in response to “Belarus’s substantial enabling of Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine.”
The consequences of this change on the prosecution and protection of intellectual property in Russia or other countries in the Eurasian Patent Organization are unclear. Importantly, on January 10, 2012, Rospatent was authorized to act as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for international applications filed with the USPTO as a Receiving Office (RO/US). The statement of the USPTO would appear to terminate this authorization, but no statement has been made by the USPTO on what effect this may have on PCT applications already filed designating Rospatent as IPEA or ISA.
It is likely that this change will cause, at a minimum, significant delays. Applicants should be in contact with legal counsel well in advance of any expected deadline in order to timely resolve any issues. Additionally, applicants will need to consider the response to these same events taken by other countries’ patent offices in the coming weeks and months.
If you currently have a pending application for intellectual property rights, or a granted patent, in any country affected by the USPTO’s statement, or want to attempt to protect any intellectual property which may involve any of these countries, it is important that you contact a licensed attorney to determine what effects, if any, the USPTO announcement will have on your specific case.
The attorneys at Lewis Rice have extensive experience in prosecuting trademark and patent applications in a number of foreign countries. If you have questions about how the USPTO’s recent announcement will affect your international intellectual property rights, or if you would like to pursue intellectual property protections in foreign countries or the U.S., please reach out to a member of Lewis Rice’s Intellectual Property group.