In November 2010 the Russian State Duma gave preliminary approval to a number of business-friendly amendments to the Civil Code regarding franchise agreements. These amendments, which will almost certainly become law, will align Russia more closely with the West with respect to franchise law and will simplify market entry for non-Russian companies intending to conduct franchise operations in Russia.
Franchise agreement registration and required scope of IP rights
At present, all franchise agreements in Russia must be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to be legally valid. A franchise agreement can be submitted for registration only after the underlying trademark has been registered in Russia. Even after the trademark has been registered, complying with the franchise agreement registration requirement is an onerous burden that entails a line-by-line review of the proposed agreement by the PTO, to check for compliance with mandatory provisions of Russian law. An agreement that is fully compliant can still take up to two months to be registered. Read on.