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Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash
Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash

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How the war in Ukraine is changing IP laws in Russia and beyond

Countries around the world have levied heavy sanctions on Russia ever since it invaded Ukraine. Some multinational companies have also halted their operations in the country. In turn, Russia has retaliated with a series of bans and even changed its intellectual property laws.

Many movie studios in the West have refused to release new movies in Russia. Warner Bros had planned to release The Batman movie on March 3 in the country, but froze its plan citing “the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine”.

In response, Russia recently amended its intellectual property law, which now states that Russian companies have no legal obligation to pay patent holders for the use of their intellectual property if these patent holders are from countries that sanctioned Russia. This includes the United States and all 27 members of the Europe Union.

In fact, Russian politician Dmitry Ionin even hinted at allowing people to use the RuTracker torrent site to watch blocked Hollywood movies. The site was officially banned in 2016.

The US retaliated by announcing that the United States Patent and Trademark Office would stop engaging with Russia, the Eurasian Patent Organization, and Belarus due to events unfolding in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Europe also suspended all cooperation with Russian patent office Rospatent and the Eurasian Patent Organisation as the wider intellectual property sector protested the invasion of Ukraine.

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Mark Laudi

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