IP exhaustion: One man’s trash


Vladimir Biriulin

IP exhaustion: One man’s trash

A case involving resold car parts forced Russia’s courts to revisit its IP exhaustion rules—with a positive outcome for trademark owners, says Vladimir Biriulin of Gorodissky & Partners.

IP is protected by many laws, not only by a package of specific legislation such as patent law, trademark law, etc. In Russia, those laws are bound in one book: “Part IV of the Civil Code”. Several other laws also include isolated provisions dedicated to IP.

One might think that the rights of IP owners are tightly protected. Not always so. Practice shows that infringers are no less inventive than inventors themselves. As soon as a law or a regulation is enacted, unscrupulous people begin searching for the ways to go around a patent or a trademark.

Understandably, they are interested in patents and trademarks that carry good marketing potential. In patents, they look for the flaws in the claims allowing them to formally stay within the bounds of the law. In trademarks, they invent designations that may seem similar to the protected trademarks. It is true that, in many cases, justice can be sought and restored—however, that involves expense in terms of effort, time and money. For example, it took years to settle the issue of parallel import in favour of trademark owners.

trademark, parts, exhaustion, automotive, Russia