To date, infringement of the trademarks and other intellectual property rights in Russia is common or even widespread.
In Russian law enshrines the principle of «national exhaustion of rights» to the trademark. This means that the introduction of goods into circulation in Russia is only allowed by the right-holder or with his consent. In practice, this creates multiple cases of «parallel imports».
Public authorities have varied attitude to the parallel imports. Dominant position (held by Ministry of Economic Development, Federal Customs Service, Ministry of Education and Science) assesses parallel imports as illegal and harmful to the state economy. Another position (held by Federal Antimonopoly Service) considers parallel imports as a boon to the economy, a tool to promote competition. Its supporters regularly raise the issue of changing the law to legalize parallel imports.
The key events in trademarks` protection judicial practice took place in 2009, when the Supreme Arbitration Court issued a series of acts prohibiting the application of administrative responsibility and confiscation of goods to the cases of parallel imports. The court also pointed to the possibility of protecting the rights and interests of owners with other civil legal mechanisms. For these reasons, the court practice has been forming in a stable fashion in that the individual right-holders themselves go to court without the help of administrative authorities, demanding to stop the violation and collect fines. The legislation provides for fines ranging from $ 350 to $ 170 000. In judicial practice, penalties in the amount of more than $ 100,000 are increasingly common.
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