Russia, which has been battling Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, has recently made a legal change that would allow it to steal intellectual property.
In early March, the British branch of Entertainment One lost a lawsuit against a Russian media outlet for using a fake version of the cartoon character Pepa Pig. However, the Russian media used its image without paying for intellectual property rights and reports The Economist.
The decision was made possible by a legal trick after Russia amended its civil code. Decree No. 299 thus authorizes the use of patented inventions, including in the fields of medicine and digital technology, derived from “enemy nations” without seeking or paying compensation to the owner.
Although Britain is not directly involved in the fight against Russia in Ukraine, it does fall into this category by participating in economic sanctions against Moscow and donating arms to Ukraine.
From an international legal point of view, this change is legal because it allows countries to make exceptions to patent terms in a national emergency.
The law theoretically only applies to patents that protect inventions, but it also indirectly passes on other types of intellectual property infringements that could be made against the character.
More than 50 registration applications were filed in the last two weeks of March for Western brands such as Coca-Cola and Christian Dior.