Russia has recently amended the regulations that govern the procedures in economic courts.

As a result, as of June 1, 2016, the claimants have to first submit a cease and desist letter, i.e. apply the out-of-court procedure, and then wait for 30 days before filing a court action.

Before this change, cease and desist letters were not mandatory before initiating infringement proceedings. Now, if a claimant files a court action without sending out a cease and desist letter or before the 30-day period expires, the court action will not be considered.

This can also complicate certain matters, for instance domain name disputes, because in order to send cease and desist letters, one needs to obtain domain name owner's personal information and most registrars refuse to disclose their clients' personal data. Even if one succeeds in obtaining this information and sends out a cease and desist letter, the domain name owner can transfer the ownership of the domain to another person immediately after receiving the letter.

Although the aim of the amendments is to decrease the total number of court cases, this new requirement may make it more difficult to enforce IP rights in Russia and even help infringers in avoiding punishment.

The new procedure applies to all IP matters with the exception of non-use cancellation actions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.