European IP offices cut ties with Russia over Ukraine invasion
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

European IP offices cut ties with Russia over Ukraine invasion


Pressure is mounting on global law firms to follow suit and suspend their Russia operations

The EPO suspended all cooperation with Russian patent office Rospatent and the Eurasian Patent Organisation (EAPO) yesterday, March 1, as the wider intellectual property sector protested the invasion of Ukraine.

A statement from the EPO confirmed that the decision, which will also apply to Belarus’s patent office the National Center of Intellectual Property, will be effective immediately.

EPO spokesperson Luis Berenguer told Managing IP that it had previously cooperated with Rospatent and EAPO on a “purely technical” basis, including the exchange of patent data and the use of common tools for classification, search and substantive examination.

Berenguer said there had been no cooperation activities with the Belarussian office prior to the announcement.

EPO member states will debate potential further measures at the next meeting of the organisation’s administrative council on March 22.

“As citizens of Europe, we stand in solidarity with all those suffering from the appalling violence in Ukraine and all refugees seeking safety in other countries,” an EPO statement said yesterday.

The EPO said it would be making a direct contribution to aid organisations, and offer staff the opportunity to do the same on a voluntary basis.

The UKIPO is also set to announce details of a support package for customers in Ukraine, with an update expected shortly.

CEO Tim Moss said: “The UK government’s position is clear, and like everyone in the UK we are appalled by Russia’s despicable actions and stand unequivocally behind Ukraine and its people.

“The UK’s economic sanctions against Russia include IP, and we are enforcing these sanctions robustly,” Moss added.

Expanding on these measures, a spokesperson for the UKIPO said the office was not accepting applications or payments from any individuals or businesses on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s sanctions list.

A spokesperson for the EUIPO told Managing IP that it was "currently assessing the situation and any measures or steps that the office may take are currently being evaluated".

Legal sector response

Elsewhere, Ukrainian patent lawyers last week urged international IP associations and law firms to cut ties with Russia over the invasion, which began last Thursday, February 24.

The letter, from the National Association of Patent Attorneys of Ukraine, calls on all IP organisations to suspend membership for Russian attorneys and ban them from events.

Attorneys have debated on social media whether organisations such as INTA should bar Russian attorneys.

Tatiana Kudrytska, partner at Aequo in Ukraine, commented on LinkedIn: “Exclude all members from Russia. Please.”

But other practitioners have questioned whether all Russian attorneys should be subject to sanctions for the actions of their government.

Tove Graulund, principal at Graulund Consulting in Copenhagen, commented: “INTA is not the Olympics, and the Russian members are not the same as the Russian leadership.”

Meanwhile, there is mounting pressure on law firms that have IP bases in Russia.

A spokesperson for Baker McKenzie, which has offices in Moscow and St Petersburg, told Managing IP that the firm was “reviewing and adjusting our Russia-related operations and client work to align with all applicable sanctions and comply with these fast-evolving laws”.

“We do not comment on the details of specific client relationships, but this will mean in some cases exiting relationships completely,” the spokesperson said.

The firm’s Moscow and St Petersburg offices remain open, the spokesperson confirmed.

A spokesperson for Rouse, when asked about the status of the company’s Russia practice, told Managing IP: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. We are monitoring the situation closely and reviewing our position accordingly.”

Linklaters, which describes itself as one of the "most successful international law firms in Russia" and has a Moscow office, told Managing IP it condemned the invasion and was "appalled by the escalating violence".

A spokesperson for the firm said: "We’re actively monitoring the situation and working to ensure the safety and support of colleagues and their families. We’re also reviewing all of the firm’s Russia-related work.”

Managing IP has contacted other firms and service providers with operations in Russia, including Hogan Lovells, for comment.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

James Lawrence, partner at Addisons, explains how he convinced the full Federal Court of Australia to back his client in a patent dispute concerning mining safety equipment
The deal will allow the companies to use each other’s patents covering 4G and 5G technologies, and other cellular SEPs
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Three lead IP counsel in the US, the UK and China share how they walk the fine line between building in-house competence and splurging on external lawyers
Mike Renaud, head of the IP division at Mintz, explains his business strategy and how the firm justifies charging higher rates
Sources say firms must build relationships with clients that transcend their connections to individual partners
INTA’s resolution on online marketplaces and appointment of Amazon’s general counsel follow calls for the association to take a direct position on internet fakes
Counsel report where they’re seeing more issues with inventorship arise and how they’re getting this work in the first place
To mark the firm’s one-year anniversary, partners at Groombridge Wu Baughman & Stone reveal the biggest challenges of getting a new firm off the ground
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP lawyer about their life and career