Russia demonstrated its commitment to intellectual property protection by introducing a specialized intellectual rights court (the IP Court). The relevant legislative changes were adopted in December 2011, with the active phase of establishing the court beginning in late 2012. The IP Court is intended to ensure the proper adjudication of complex IP disputes.
Jurisdiction of the IP Court
The IP Court plays a two-fold role in the Russian court system: it acts as the court of first instance in industrial property cases (e.g., revocation and patent invalidation cases; revocation and invalidation cases are commenced in the Chamber for Patent Disputes acting as the administrative body) and as the cassation court for its own cases as well for IP cases heard by the arbitration courts (e.g., infringement cases). Under Russian law, three kinds of appeal are possible: 1) appeals heard de novo by arbitration appellate courts; 2) cassation appeals heard on the existing record of the case by arbitration cassation courts; 3) appeals to the Supreme Arbitration Court that exercises supervision powers and ensures consistency of the Russian case practice. Figure 1 outlines the competence of the IP court in more detail.
Whether the IP Court acts as the court of first instance or as the cassation court, cases will not be heard by a single judge. A panel of judges will hear cassation appeals against decisions of other arbitration courts, while the Presidium of the IP Court is the cassation court for decisions of the IP Court as the court of first instance. Cassation rulings of the IP Court or its Presidium can be appealed to the Supreme Arbitration Court that exercises supervision powers. The system of hearing IP disputes is illustrated in Figure 2.
The IP Court was officially formed in February 2013, but as its opening date is yet to be announced by the Supreme Arbitration Court, it is important to consider the implications of the transition period. If a lawsuit against a revocation decision of the Russian PTO was filed with the Arbitration Court of Moscow before the opening of the IP Court, the case will not be transferred to the IP Court, but rather, adjudicated by the Arbitration Court of Moscow, with the subsequent appeal (if necessary) filed to the 9th Arbitration Appellate Court. However, in this case, the cassation appeal would be not be filed to the Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow region, but to the Presidium of the IP Court, which is expressly indicated as the cassation court over cases that were heard by arbitration courts of first instance and arbitration appeal courts before the opening day of the IP Court.
The IP Court is presided over by Ludmila A. Novoselova, an ex-judge of the Supreme Arbitration Court, who known as a corporate law specialist. The minimum number of 15 judges is required for the IP Court to operate. At this writing and according to the official web-site of the IP Court (http://ipc.arbitr.ru/), 13 judges have been appointed. As it appears from their biographies, all of them have previously worked in the arbitration court system.
Location and readiness
The IP Court is located in a building that is currently under repair at the centre of Moscow (Mashtakova St., 13), not far from the Supreme Arbitration Court. Considering the IP Court is in the process of purchasing cars and equipment and hiring administrative staff, we expect it to open in April 2013 if not sooner.