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Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Definition
Intellectual property (IP) is protected by various laws, including the Constitution of the Russian Federation (Article 44), the Russian Civil Code (Part IV), and many other national laws and regulations as well as international treaties, which Russia is a party to (e.g. Paris Convention, TRIPS, PCT, etc.). Basically, IP gives its owner the absolute and exclusive rights to use, dispose of and enforce different results of intellectual activity (e.g. inventions, designs, literary and artistic works) and means of individualization (e.g. trademarks, trade names, and appellations of origin) against third parties. The IP rights extend to different forms of proprietary rights such as patents, copyrights, know-how, trademarks, commercial designations, software, databases, topologies of integrated circuits, and achievements of selection (i.e. plant varieties and animal breeds).
The described IP subject-matters shall be protected independently from the property rights vested in tangible medium of their expression (i.e. things, materials, and products). At the same time, almost every product that is offered for sale may contain unique IP subject matters. For example, a computer or tablet will involve certain software (protected by copyright law) and hardware parts (protected by patent law), and will be distributed under an attractive brand (protected by trademark law). Hence, the role of IP amongst other assets is significant enough to drive the economy and trade in general.
IP life-cycle is usually experiencing the following fundamental stages: (i) creation (i.e. development), (ii) protection (e.g. registration), (iii) licensing/transfer (i.e. transactions), and (iv) enforcement (e.g. litigation). As a result, each particular stage may involve overlapping of IP laws with the other areas of laws. For instance, the “creation” stage will usually combine IP aspects with the relevant contractual, commercial and employments issues/regulations; the “protection” stage will normally combine IP aspects with the relevant technology, administrative and government relationship issues/regulations; the “licensing/transfer” stage will typically combine IP aspects with the relevant contractual, commercial, tax, advertising and consumer protection issues/regulations; the “enforcement” stage will ordinarily combine IP aspects with the relevant dispute resolution, arbitration and mediation issues/regulations. Hence, IP is a complex area of law that consolidates many practices and lawyers in charge.
Indeed, IP portfolios of a lot of companies constitute the majority of the value and profits to their businesses. Therefore, protecting, commercializing, and enforcing IP rights is essential from all legal and practical perspectives.
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